Voters’ Attitudes About Race and Gender Are Even More Divided Than in 2016

Source: Voters’ Attitudes About Race and Gender Are Even More Divided Than in 2016

Immigrants in America: Current Data and Demographics

Good reference source (MPI also has a great reference collection):

There were a record 44.8 million immigrants living in the U.S. in 2018, making up 13.7% of the nation’s population. This represents a more than fourfold increase since 1960, when 9.7 million immigrants lived in the U.S., accounting for 5.4% of the total U.S. population. Click the link below each summary table to download the data.

To find more context on the figures below, visit the blog post “Key findings about U.S. immigrants,” and for a downloadable version of the tables below, see the PDF and the Excel workbook. For facts on Latinos in the United States, see our profile on U.S. Hispanics.

For details on our regional grouping of countries, see our “Countries by regional classification” document (PDF).

Nativity of U.S. immigrants

Foreign-born population total 44,760,622
Percent born in Mexico 25.0%
Percent who are citizens 50.7%

Download Excel sheet with all population and nativity findings


Race of U.S. immigrants

Percent who are white alone, not Hispanic 17.7%

Download Excel sheet with all race findings


Language use among U.S. immigrants

Percent speaking English at least very well
(ages 5 and older)

Download Excel sheet with all language findings


Age and gender of U.S. immigrants

Median age of foreign-born population (in years) 45
Percent of foreign born who are female 51.8%

Download Excel sheet with all age and gender findings


Marital status and fertility of U.S. immigrants

Percent who are married
(ages 18 and older)
Percent who are women ages 15-44 giving birth in past year 7.5%

Download Excel sheet with all marriage and fertility findings


Education of U.S. immigrants

Highest degree completed, ages 25 and older

High school or less 49.2%
Two-year degree/Some college 18.8%
Bachelor’s degree or more 32.0%

Download Excel sheet with all education findings


Work status and occupations of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

Percent in labor force
(among civilian population)

Download Excel sheet with all work findings


Earnings and income of U.S. immigrants

Ages 16 and older

Median annual personal earnings
(in 2018 dollars, among those with earnings)
Median annual household income
(in 2018 dollars)

Download Excel sheet with all income findings


Poverty and health insurance among U.S. immigrants

Percent living in poverty 14.6%
Percent uninsured 19.6%

Download Excel sheet with all poverty and insurance findings


Homeownership and households of U.S. immigrants

Percent in family households 82.3%

Download Excel sheet with all homeownership and household findings


Region and top states of residence of U.S. immigrants

West 33.9%
California 23.7%
South 33.7%
Texas 11.0%
Florida 10.0%
Northeast 21.2%
New York 10.0%
New Jersey 4.6%
Midwest 11.3%

Source: Immigrants in America: Current Data and Demographics

Half of Americans say Bible should influence U.S. laws, including 28% who favor it over the will of the people

New Survey Highlights Racial Disparities In The Coronavirus Pandemic

Yet more evidence:

A Pew Research Center survey conducted this month among 4,917 U.S. adults found that 27% of black people personally knew someone who was hospitalized with or died from COVID-19, compared to just 1 in 10 white and Hispanic people.

The results highlight how coronavirus is disproportionately affecting lower-income people of color.

The survey asked people how concerned they were about contracting coronavirus; of those polled 24% say they are very concerned about getting the virus. Of that group, one-third had lower incomes, versus just 17% classified as upper-income. Of that very concerned population, 43% were Hispanic, 31% black and 18% white.

Differences in income and race were also highlighted in responses to a question that asked people how concerned they were about unknowingly passing on the virus to others. Thirty-three percent of people surveyed said they were very concerned about passing on the virus without knowing; that percentage was composed by nearly half of Hispanic adults and 38% of black adults, compared to 28% of white adults. Thirty-eight percent of those very concerned that they could pass coronavirus to others unknowingly were lower income.

In the last weeks in places like New York city and Chicago, officials have reported people of color dying at higher rates from coronavirus compared to white people. Experts say this isn’t because minorities are biologically predisposed to the disease, but as Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. surgeon general, said at the White House briefing last week, people of color are “more likely to live in densely packed areas and in multigenerational housing situations, which create higher risk for spread of highly contagious disease like COVID-19.”

Source: New Survey Highlights Racial Disparities In The Coronavirus Pandemic

Majority of Countries Don’t Approve of Trump’s Bid to Curb Immigration to U.S., 33-Nation Study Finds

More interesting public opinion research from Pew. Of most interest is that the same demographic patterns regarding concerns about immigration – right-oriented and rural area voters – are common to most countries:

Countries around the world strongly disapprove of President Donald Trump’s efforts to deter immigration to the U.S., a Pew Research Center poll of 33 nations has found.

In the Pew Research Center’s Spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey, Canada joined countries including Spain, Sweden, Germany and Turkey in showing high rates of disapproval for Trump’s policy to “allow fewer immigrants” into the U.S.

Most nations in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North African and Latin American countries, the Pew Research Center said, “disapprove of restricting immigration into the U.S.”

However, it asserted, there are “notable exceptions.”

In Europe, for example, Pew said a median of 51 percent of countries polled said they disapprove of Trump’s efforts.

However, the research center noted, “this masks relative support among many Central and Eastern Europeans for restricting immigration into the U.S.,” including Hungary and Poland, where approval ratings for Trump’s immigration efforts were higher than disapproval ratings.

“While majorities in Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain and the U.K. oppose Trump’s immigration policy, about half or more in Hungary, Slovakia and Poland (as well as a plurality in the Czech Republic) approve,” the study said.

Another “clear exception” to the trend, the study found, was Israel, where 58 percent said they were in support of Trump’s plan to limit migration.

Israel showed the highest rates of approval for the U.S. curbing immigration, followed by Hungary, where 54 percent were, in favor and Italy and Poland, where 51 percent were in support across both nations.

The Pew Research Center also noted that “there are consistent demographic patterns on this question as well, with ideologically right-oriented respondents expressing more approval than those on the left in most countries.”

For example, in Italy, the poll found that at least six in ten of those who identified themselves as being on the “right end of the ideological spectrum” were in support of Trump’s immigration policies, compared to just 26 percent of left-leaning people.

The divide between European supporters of right-wing populist parties and nonsupporters was also clear in the study, with supporters of Marie Le Pen’s National Rally in France three times as likely to support restricting immigration to the U.S. compared to nonsupporters.

Rural areas, the study also found, were also more likely to show support for restricting immigration to the U.S., including rural areas across Britain, where 41 percent of people living in rural regions said they supported the effort compared to 24 percent who lived in urban areas.

Results for the survey, which was conducted in Spring 2019, are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews Pew says were conducted under the direction of Gallup.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and Department of Homeland Security for comment on this article.

Source: Majority of Countries Don’t Approve of Trump’s Bid to Curb Immigration to U.S., 33-Nation Study Finds

A Field Guide to Polling: Election 2020 Edition

Useful advice in general, not just in terms of US political polling:

How can you tell a ‘good’ poll from a ‘bad’ one?

The longevity of phone polls has allowed scholars time to study them and establish basic standards and best practices. For this reason, it’s a fairly straightforward task to sort more rigorous phone polls from the rest. In general, rigorous surveys are those that are paid for and fielded by a neutral source; have selected a probability-based, random sample of the public (or the population of interest, such as registered voters); dial cellphones in addition to landlines; make multiple attempts to reach people; use live interviewers; and make public both the questionnaire and a detailed methodology.

On the other hand, creating a quality checklist for online opt-in polls remains a challenge and a work in progress.7 Some considerations are the same as for phone polls, as they too should be funded and conducted by a neutral source and transparent with their questionnaires and methodologies. Beyond these basics, evaluating the quality of an opt-in election poll should consider the following questions: Does the sample include all kinds of Americans? Does it include them in roughly the right proportion compared to their share of the population? If not, how are researchers working on the back end to address these issues?8

The Center is now several years into a sustained effort to evaluate these surveys, and several key findings have emerged. Online opt-in polls are not monolithic – some vendors produce more accurate data than others. What separates the better vendors is that they adjust their surveys to be representative on a large set of variables that includes both demographics (e.g., race, age, sex and, per the lessons of 2016, education) and political variables (e.g. party affiliation, voter registration status). Less accurate vendors tend to either not weight their data at all or adjust for just a few demographics. When evaluating these polls, look for evidence that the pollster has thought carefully about these kinds of problems and taken steps to correct them.

When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality.

Perhaps surprisingly, Center research found that having a sample that looked demographically representative of the country (through use of quotas or weighting) did not predict accuracy. In other words, just getting the survey to look representative with respect to age, sex, etc. does not mean that the survey estimates for other outcomes are accurate. At this stage in their development, opt-in polls require a very thoughtful, hands-on effort for those fielding the survey, requiring them to consider what they are trying to measure and how the characteristics of the sample may interact with those concepts. As a result, consumers of these polls should also be particularly attentive to these issues.

One last “false flag” to ignore: When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality. Given that opt-in surveys are so cheap to field, it’s not hard to drive up a sample size to provide the illusion of precision. But Center research suggests that an 8,000 person opt-in survey is not necessarily more accurate than a 2,000 person survey.

The bottom line for now is that, at least in our own explorations, “even the most effective adjustment procedures were unable to remove most of the bias”9 from opt-in polls. That said, the level of precision these opt-in panels can provide may be adequate for some research purposes.


What Americans Know About Religion | Pew Research Center

Good in-depth survey, as typical of Pew. Worth doing the test quiz (for the record, got 11 out of 15 or 73 percent):

Most Americans are familiar with some of the basics of Christianity and the Bible, and even a few facts about Islam. But far fewer U.S. adults are able to correctly answer factual questions about Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, and most do not know what the U.S. Constitution says about religion as it relates to elected officials. In addition, large majorities of Americans are unsure (or incorrect) about the share of the U.S. public that is Muslim or Jewish, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that quizzed nearly 11,000 U.S. adults on a variety of religious topics.

Our surveys often ask people about their opinions, but this one was different, asking 32 fact-based, multiple-choice questions about topics related to religion (see here for full list of questions). The average U.S. adult is able to answer fewer than half of them (about 14) correctly.

The questions were designed to span a spectrum of difficulty. Some were meant to be relatively easy, to establish a baseline indication of what nearly all Americans know about religion. Others were intended to be difficult, to differentiate those who are most knowledgeable about religious topics from everyone else.1

The survey finds that Americans’ levels of religious knowledge vary depending not only on what questions are being asked, but also on who is answering. Jews, atheists, agnostics and evangelical Protestants, as well as highly educated people and those who have religiously diverse social networks, show higher levels of religious knowledge, while young adults and racial and ethnic minorities tend to know somewhat less about religion than the average respondent does.

Most Americans correctly answer basic questions about Christianity, atheism and Islam; fewer know about Judaism, Hinduism or what the Constitution saysOverall, eight-in-ten U.S. adults correctly answer that in the Christian tradition, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus – rather than the Crucifixion, the Ascension to heaven or the Last Supper. A similar share know that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that there is one God in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Eight-in-ten Americans correctly identify Moses as the biblical figure who led the Exodus from Egypt, and David as the one who killed an enemy by slinging a stone, while seven-in-ten know that Abraham is the biblical figure who exhibited a willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.

Most Americans also are familiar with two different terms that indicate a lack of belief in God. Almost nine-in-ten correctly identify the definition of “an atheist” (someone who does not believe in God), and six-in-ten correctly select the definition of “an agnostic” (someone who is unsure whether God exists).

Even some of the basics of Islam are familiar to a wide swath of the public. Six-in-ten U.S. adults know that Ramadan is an Islamic holy month (as opposed to a Hindu festival of lights, a Jewish prayer for the dead, or a celebration of the Buddha’s birth) and that Mecca (not Cairo, Medina or Jerusalem) is Islam’s holiest city and a place of pilgrimage for Muslims.

Most Americans are familiar with key elements of Christianity, terminology of nonbelief, basics of IslamOn the other hand, Americans are less familiar with some basic facts about other world religions, including Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.2 Just three-in-ten U.S. adults know that the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday, one-quarter know that Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, and one-in-eight can correctly identify the religion of Maimonides (an influential Jewish scholar in the Middle Ages).

Roughly one-in-five Americans (18%) know that the “truth of suffering” is among Buddhism’s four “noble truths,” and just 15% correctly identify the Vedas as a Hindu text.

Many Americans also struggle to answer some questions about the size of religious minorities in the U.S. and about religion’s role in American government. For instance, most U.S. adults overestimate the shares of Jews and Muslims in the U.S. or are unaware that Jews and Muslims each account for less than 5% of the population.3 And when asked what the U.S. Constitution says about religion as it relates to federal officeholders, just one-quarter (27%) correctly answer that it says “no religious test” shall be a qualification for holding office; 15% incorrectly believe the Constitution requires federal officeholders to affirm that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, 12% think the Constitution requires elected officials to be sworn in using the Bible, 13% think the Constitution is silent on this issue, and 31% say they are not sure.

Three-in-ten or fewer Americans know when Jewish Sabbath begins, that Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New YearOne-in-five Americans know Protestantism (not Catholicism) traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith aloneNine of the survey’s questions were moderately difficult for respondents; more than three-in-ten but fewer than six-in-ten respondents were able to answer them correctly. These questions include one about the Ten Commandments (58% know that the golden rule is not one of the Ten Commandments), one about the Gospel account of the Sermon on the Mount (51% know it was delivered by Jesus rather than by Peter, Paul or John), and one about the Catholic teaching on transubstantiation (34% know the Catholic Church teaches that during the Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion are not symbolic, but actually become the body and blood of Jesus).

Roughly half of Americans know Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, that yoga has roots in HinduismThese are among the key findings of a survey conducted online Feb. 4 to 19, 2019, among 10,971 respondents. The study was conducted mostly among members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults recruited from landline and cellphone random-digit-dial surveys and an address-based survey), supplemented by interviews with members of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel.4 The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

The survey was designed to measure the public’s knowledge about a wide range of religious subjects. The religious knowledge section consisted of 32 questions in total, including 14 about the Bible and Christianity, 13 about other world religions (four about Judaism, three about the religious composition of particular countries, two each about Islam and Hinduism, and one each about Buddhism and Sikhism), two about atheism and agnosticism, two about the size of religious minorities in the U.S. adult population, and one about religion in the U.S. Constitution. For a list of all the questions, see here.

The average respondent correctly answered 14.2 of the 32 religious knowledge questions. Just 9% of respondents gave correct answers to more than three-quarters (at least 25) of the questions, and less than 1% earned a perfect score.

At the other end of the spectrum, one-quarter of respondents (24%) correctly answered eight or fewer questions, and a clear majority (62%) got half (16) or fewer correct. This includes 2% of respondents who did not answer any questions correctly, mainly because they checked “not sure” in response to most or all the questions.

Most respondents got between 25% and 75% of questions right; very few gave all correct answers

How various religious groups fare on the survey

U.S. Jews among the most knowledgeable about religion On average, Jews, atheists, agnostics and evangelical Protestants score highest on the new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming members of other Protestant traditions, Catholics, Mormons and Americans who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.”

Jews get 18.7 questions right, on average. Self-described atheists and agnostics also display relatively high levels of religious knowledge, correctly answering an average of 17.9 and 17.0 questions, respectively.

Protestants as a whole correctly answer an average of 14.3 questions, with members of the evangelical Protestant tradition (15.5) doing best within this group.5

Catholics (14.0) and Mormons (13.9) perform similarly to one another and to U.S. adults overall.

The survey does not include enough interviews with Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh respondents to permit analysis of their levels of religious knowledge.6

Evangelical Protestants get the most questions right about Christianity; Jews are most well-versed in world religionsLooking only at questions about the Bible and Christianity, evangelical Protestants give the highest number of right answers (9.3 out of 14, on average). Atheists and Mormons are among the next highest performers, getting an average of 8.6 and 8.5 questions right, respectively. Atheists and agnostics do about as well on questions about the Bible and Christianity as do Christians overall.

Jews are the top performers on questions about other world religions, getting 7.7 questions right, on average, out of 13 questions about Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and global religious demography.7 Atheists (6.1) and agnostics (5.8) also do well on these questions compared with the national average (4.3).

Other factors associated with religious knowledge

Education strongly linked with religious knowledgeBeyond religious affiliation, what other factors are linked with how much religious knowledge a person has? The survey indicates that educational attainment – how much schooling an individual has completed – is strongly associated with religious knowledge. College graduates correctly answer 7.2 more questions, on average, than people with a high school education or less schooling.

One possible explanation for why Jews, atheists and agnostics score among the highest on this survey is that all three of these groups are highly educated, on average. However, Jews, atheists and agnostics display greater religious knowledge than other groups even after controlling for education and other demographic characteristicsassociated with knowing more about religion. (For additional discussion of statistical regression analysis exploring the factors associated with religious knowledge, see Chapter 3.)

Another educational factor linked with religious knowledge is having taken a class on world religions. Those who say they have taken a world religions class (e.g., in high school or college) answer 17.3 questions correctly, on average, compared with 12.5 among those who have not taken such a class.

Christians who spend time learning about their religion get more questions right about ChristianityAmong Christians, knowledge of the Bible and Christianity is closely linked both with the amount of effort respondents say they invest in learning about their faith and with their religious background. Christians who say they regularly spend time learning about their own religion (for example, reading scripture, visiting websites, listening to podcasts, reading books or magazines, or watching television) answer more questions correctly about the Bible and Christianity than do those who say they make such efforts to learn about their faith less often (9.4 questions right out of 14 total, vs. 6.8).

The survey also finds that Christians who attended a religious private school while growing up answer 9.4 questions about the Bible and Christianity correctly, on average. By comparison, Christians who attended a public school or a nonreligious private school get fewer of those questions right.8 Similarly, Christians who spent many years attending Sunday school or a similar type of religious education (for example, CCD for Catholics) correctly answer more questions about the Bible and Christianity than do Christians who never attended Sunday school.

The survey did not include enough interviews with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or members of other religions to permit reliable analysis of the connection between their religious education and knowledge of their respective religions.

Americans who know more people of different faiths have higher levels of religious knowledgeIn addition to educational factors, the religious diversity of Americans’ social networks also appears to have a connection with levels of religious knowledge.

The survey included a set of questions asking respondents whether they personally know someone who is an evangelical Christian, a Catholic, a Mormon, a Jew, a Muslim, an atheist, a Buddhist, a Hindu or a mainline Protestant. Respondents who know someone who belongs to a religious group tend to correctly answer more questions about that religion. For example, those who personally know someone who is Muslim are far more likely than those who do not know anyone who is Muslim to identify Ramadan as an Islamic holy month (76% vs 46%). And while 71% of respondents who know someone who is Hindu also know that yoga has its roots in the religion, just 43% of those who do not know a Hindu are aware of yoga’s Hindu roots.

Overall, Americans with the most religiously diverse social networks earn the highest scores on the religious knowledge survey. On average, respondents who know someone from at least seven different religious groups answer 19.0 questions right, on average, while those who know someone from three or fewer religious groups average 8.6 right.

Religious knowledge linked with more favorable views of religious groups

The survey also asked respondents to rate nine different religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 (coldest and most negative) to 100 (warmest and most positive). Overall, Americans give Jews an average rating of 63 degrees. Catholics and mainline Protestants each receive an average rating of 60 degrees, followed closely by Buddhists (57 degrees), evangelical Christians (56 degrees) and Hindus (55 degrees). The average ratings given to Mormons, atheists and Muslims hover near the 50-degree mark.9

More religious knowledge tied to colder feelings toward evangelical ChristiansThose who are most knowledgeable about a religion (and are not members of that religion) tend to rate the religion’s adherents most favorably. For instance, Buddhists receive an average thermometer rating of 67 degrees from non-Buddhists who correctly answer both of the survey’s Buddhism-knowledge questions correctly, but just 53 degrees from those who answer neither Buddhism-knowledge question correctly. The average rating given to Hindus is 11 degrees warmer among those who know a lot about Hinduism than among those who know little about Hinduism.

Moreover, higher scores on the overall (32-point) religious knowledge scale tend to be associated with warmer evaluations of most religious groups. Jews, for instance, receive an average thermometer rating of 70 degrees from non-Jews who answer 25 or more religious knowledge questions correctly, compared with just 54 degrees from those who answer eight or fewer questions correctly. One exception to this pattern is evangelical Christians, who are rated most warmly by those at the low end of the religious knowledge scale.

Other findings from the survey include:

    • Half of Catholics in the United States (50%) correctly answer a question about official church teachings on transubstantiation – that during Communion, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ. The other half of Catholics incorrectly say the church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion are just symbols of the body and blood of Christ (45%) or say they are not sure (4%).
    • Christians who attend religious services at least once a week correctly answer nearly 10 of the survey’s 14 questions about the Bible and Christianity, on average (9.6). By contrast, Christians who say they seldom or never attend religious services correctly answer an average of 7.2 of these questions.
    • Just one-in-five Americans (20%) know that Protestantism traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith alone, a key theological issue in the Protestant Reformation.10 One-in-ten incorrectly believe that Catholicism teaches that salvation comes through faith alone, while the remainder of adults declined to offer a response in the survey (38%) or wrongly state that both Protestantism and Catholicism teach this (23%) or that neither Christian tradition teaches this (8%). Evangelical Protestants are more likely than other groups to know the traditional Protestant teaching, though even among evangelicals, far fewer than half (37%) answer the question correctly.
    • When asked to choose the best description of the “prosperity gospel” from a list of options, roughly one-in-five adults (22%) correctly identify it as the idea that those of strong faith will be blessed by God with financial success and good health. Half of Americans (49%) say they are not sure what the prosperity gospel is. About one-in-eight (12%) incorrectly believe that the prosperity gospel is the teaching that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. An additional 8% think it is the belief that God’s blessing is given to the poor in spirit who shall store up treasures in heaven, and 7% say the prosperity gospel reflects the notion that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
    • Three-in-ten Americans overestimate the size of the U.S. Jewish or Muslim populationThree-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) overestimate the size of the U.S. Jewish or Muslim populations, incorrectly stating that one or both of these groups make up more than 5% of the U.S. population. This includes 12% who think the size of both groups exceeds 5%, 13% who think Jews account for more than 5% of U.S. adults, and 4% who believe the Muslim population is larger than it is. Just 14% of respondents know that the Jewish and Muslim communities in the U.S. each make up less than 5% of the overall U.S. population.11 And slightly more than half of U.S. adults (54%) say they are unsure about the size of both the Jewish and Muslim populations.
    • Questions about different religions not only vary in difficulty, but also focus on specific aspects of religions and do not cover the breadth of knowledge people may have about any specific religion. As a result, the survey cannot definitively state that Americans are more knowledgeable about Islam than they are about other non-Christian religions. Still, respondents were more likely to correctly answer the questions about Islam in this particular survey than they were to choose the correct answers about Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Indeed, roughly six-in-ten Americans know that Ramadan is an Islamic holy month and that Mecca is Islam’s holiest city, roughly double the share of U.S. adults who know when the Jewish Sabbath starts or what the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana celebrates.
    • Men get more questions right, on average, than women (15.5 vs. 13.0).12 And Americans who are 65 or older correctly answer about 16 questions, on average, while those under 30 get fewer right (11.9). 13 Non-Hispanic white respondents score higher (15.4 questions right, on average) on the survey’s religious knowledge questions than black respondents (10.5) and Hispanic respondents (11.7). These gender, age, and racial and ethnic differences are statistically significant even after controlling for education, religious affiliation and the religious diversity of respondents’ social networks (see Chapter 3 for more details).

This is the second time Pew Research Center has tested how much U.S. adults know about religion. The first survey, conducted in 2010, found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons were the top performers, while in the new survey, atheists, Jews, agnostics and evangelical Protestants scored highest. However, there are several important differences between the two surveys that make them not directly comparable. To begin with, many of the questions asked in the new survey were not asked in 2010. Just 12 of the 32 current knowledge questions appeared on the 2010 survey, and all the repeated questions have been modified in ways that make direct comparisons impossible.

Another difference is that the 2010 survey was conducted on the phone by live interviewers, while the current survey was conducted online with respondents entering their own answers. Sometimes when the same question is asked in two different modes, such as over the phone and online, there is a difference in results attributable to what survey methodologists call a mode effect. In other words, the presence of a live interviewer may encourage people to answer questions differently than they would if no one was observing their (self-recorded) responses.

Also, the 2019 survey included a “not sure” response to every religious knowledge question; respondents were given the explicit option of clicking “not sure” and skipping to the next question whenever they were unsure of an answer. By contrast, in the 2010 survey, respondents did not have an explicit “not sure” response option read to them over the phone. Instead, respondents were able to say they “don’t know” only if they volunteered it as a response.14 As a result of all these differences, the results cannot speak to whether Americans have become more or less knowledgeable about religion over the past decade.

Moreover, there is no objective way to determine how much the U.S. public should know about religion, or what are the most important things to know. As with the 2010 survey, the questions in the 2019 survey are intended to be representative of a body of general knowledge about religion; they are not meant to be a list of the most essential facts.

Roadmap to the report

The remainder of this report explores these and other findings in more detail. Chapter 1 takes a step-by-step look at how people from a variety of religious traditions performed on each of the survey’s religious knowledge questions. Chapter 2 goes a step further and examines which factors beyond religious affiliation are linked with higher and lower levels of religious knowledge. Chapter 3 reports the results of multiple regression models that assess the relative impact of religious, social and demographic factors on religious knowledge. And Chapter 4 examines the results of the survey’s “feeling thermometer” questions, with a focus on how religious knowledge is linked with positive and negative attitudes toward a variety of religious groups.

Religious knowledge questions

Questions below have been paraphrased for brevity; most response options were randomized. Correct answers are noted in bold. See topline for exact wording and question order.

• Which Bible figure is most closely associated with leading the Exodus from Egypt? Moses, Daniel, Elijah, Joseph
• Which figure is most closely associated with killing an enemy with a stone? David, Isaiah, Joshua, Solomon
• Who is most closely associated with willingness to sacrifice his son to obey God? Abraham, Jacob, Cain, Levi
• Who is most closely associated with saving Jews from murder by appealing to king? Esther, Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca
• Which of these is NOT in the Ten Commandments? Golden rule, no adultery, no stealing, keep Sabbath holy
• Who delivered the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus, Peter, Paul, John
• Where did Jesus live during his childhood and young adulthood? Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho

Elements of Christianity
• Easter Sunday commemorates what? Resurrection, Ascension, Crucifixion, Last Supper
• Which best describes the Trinity? One God in three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), there are three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), coming of Christ foretold by three prophets (Elijah, Ezekiel, Zechariah), there are three Gods (Father, Mother, Son)
• Which is the Catholic teaching about bread and wine in Communion? They become actual body and blood of Christ, they are symbols of the body and blood of Christ
• In Catholicism, purgatory is … where souls are purified before entering heaven, an offering made during confession, purification process made during self-reflection, where souls go for eternal punishment
• Which group traditionally teaches that salvation comes through faith alone? Protestantism, Catholicism, both, neither
• Prosperity gospel teaches … strong faith leads to financial success and good health, easier for camel to go through eye of needle than for rich person to enter the kingdom of God, to whom much is given much is expected, God’s blessing is given to the poor who store up treasures in heaven
• What was the religion of Joseph Smith? Mormon, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu

Elements of Judaism
• What best describes Rosh Hashana? New Year, Day of Atonement, candles lit for eight nights, end of Torah reading
• Which religious tradition is Kabbalah most closely associated with? Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism
• What was the religion of Maimonides? Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu
• When does the Jewish Sabbath begin? Friday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Elements of world religions
• What is the holiest city in Islam, to which Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage? Mecca, Jerusalem, Medina, Cairo
• Ramadan is … an Islamic holy month, Hindu festival of lights, Jewish prayer for the dead, festival for Buddha’s birth
• What is the religion of most people in Indonesia? Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism
• Which religious tradition is yoga most closely associated with? Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism
• Which text is most closely associated with Hindu tradition? Vedas, Tao Te Ching, Quran, Mahayana sutras
• Which is one of Buddhism’s four “noble truths”? The truth of suffering, every being has immortal soul, Buddha was perfect, monotheism
• What is the religion of most people in Thailand? Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism
• What is the religion of most people in Ethiopia? Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism
• Which religion requires men to wear a turban and carry a ceremonial sword? Sikhism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism

Atheism and agnosticism
• An atheist … does NOT believe in God, believes in God, is unsure whether God exists, believes in multiple gods
• An agnostic … is unsure whether God exists, believes in God, does NOT believe in God, believes in multiple gods

Religion and public life
• What does the U.S. Constitution say about religion as it relates to federal officeholders? No religious test necessary for holding office, sworn in using Bible, must affirm that all men are endowed by Creator with unalienable rights, does not say anything
• How many adults in the U.S. are Jewish? Less than 5%, one-in-ten, one-in-four, half or more
• How many adults in the U.S. are Muslim? Less than 5%, one-in-ten, one-in-four, half or more

Source: What Americans Know About Religion | Pew Research Center

Recently arrived U.S. immigrants, growing in number, differ from long-term residents

More analysis of the changing nature of immigrants to the USA:

Recently arrived U.S. immigrants are a growing part of the nation’s foreign-born population, which reached a record 44.4 million in 2017. Overall, their profile differs from immigrants who have been in the country longer.

About 7.6 million immigrants have lived in the country for five years or less. They make up 17% of the foreign-born population, a share that has returned to 2010 levels after a slight dip. Recently arrived immigrants have markedly different education, income and other characteristics from those who have been in the U.S. for more than a decade. Proposed changes to U.S. immigration lawscould favor highly skilled immigrants, which could further change the demographics of the nation’s foreign-born population. U.S. adults support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate and work in the U.S., according to a 2018 survey from Pew Research Center.

View interactive charts and detailed tables on U.S. immigrants.

Related: A statistical portrait of the nation’s foreign-born population, which includes historical trends since 1960

Here are several ways the differences between shorter- and longer-tenured U.S. immigrants have changed over time:

1Nearly half of recently arrived U.S. immigrants have at least a bachelor's degree, a sharp increase from 2010. Short-term residents have more education than long-term residents, and the gap between these immigrant groups has widened. Almost half (47%) of immigrants ages 25 and older who arrived in the U.S. during the previous five years have a bachelor’s degree or more as of 2017, compared with just 28% of those who have lived in the country for more than 10 years. The share among newer arrivals has grown since 2010, when 36% had a college degree, compared with 25% of longer-tenured immigrants. Overall, the education levels of U.S. immigrants have increased, due in part to growing numbers of international students and highly skilled workers. By contrast, 32% of the U.S.-born population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

2. Recently arrived immigrants have higher unemployment rates than longer-term immigrants. Immigrants who arrived in the past five years have a 7.1% unemployment rate, compared with a 3.9% unemployment rate for immigrants who have lived in the country for more than 10 years, according to Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey. Both groups have seen declines in unemployment since 2010, when their rates were 12.8% and 9.7%, respectively. More-recent arrivals have for decades had higher unemployment rates than longer-term residents, despite having more education. The opposite is true for the U.S. population overall: Those with more education have lower unemployment rates.

3. Earnings of recently arrived immigrants have grown, but lag those of longer-term foreign-born residentsThe personal earnings of recently arrived U.S. immigrants have increased, but trail those of longer-term immigrants. Those who arrived in the past five years had median annual personal earnings of $24,000 in 2017, compared with $32,000 among those who have lived in the country more than 10 years. For decades, more-recent arrivals have lagged longer-term residents in personal earnings despite having higher levels of education. For the U.S. population, by contrast, those with a college education have higher earnings. Since the Great Recession, the personal earnings of newer arrivals have increased while those of longer-tenured residents have remained flat.

4English proficiency among recently arrived immigrants is up since 2010. English proficiency among recently arrived immigrants is on the rise. Among those who arrived in the U.S. in the past five years, 45% said in 2017 that they either speak only English at home or speak English very well, up from 38% in 2010. Due to this increase, recent arrivals are closing the gap with longer-term immigrants, who have seen little change in their English proficiency. About half of immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years said in 2017 that they either speak only English at home or speak English very well, a share little changed from 2010.

5, South and East Asia is approaching Latin America and the Caribbean as the top origin region of recently arrived immigrants. Latin Americans account for 38% of U.S. immigrants who have arrived in the past five years, as of 2017, compared with 35% from Asia. This has changed since 2010, when immigrants from Latin America (48%) made up a far higher share of recent arrivals than Asia (30%).

Latin America and the Caribbean is by far the largest origin region among immigrants who have lived the country for more than 10 years. In 2017, immigrants from Latin America accounted for more than half (54%) of longer-term residents, compared with 25% among those from South and East Asia.

Undocumented immigrants in the US are increasingly better educated

Always interesting how so much of the debate reflects the past, not the more current situation:

Not much has changed about Washington, DC’s decades-long fixation with illegal immigration—or its inability to do something about it. The profile of immigrants themselves, however, has shifted dramatically.

Consider their education levels. The share of recently arrived undocumented immigrants with a college degree has nearly doubled between 2007 and 2016, according to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center. Here’s the share of college graduates who’ve been in the United States for five years or less compared with their more established counterparts.

At the same time, the share of recently arrived undocumented immigrants with no high school degree has shrunk, from 44% in 2007 to 31% in 2016. (Pew used government data for its calculations.)

These shifts reflect the changing nature of illegal immigration to the United States. For one, the number of new arrivals has plunged. In 2007, those who had been in the United States for five years or less made up 32% of all undocumented immigrants, according to Pew. By 2016, they accounted for 20%. And while in the past most undocumented immigrants crossed the border illegally, these days the majority are entering the country with legal visas and overstaying them.

The biggest change is the collapse in the number of Mexicans trekking north. Mexicans previously accounted for the lion’s share of undocumented immigrants in the United States. As their numbers have dwindled, the share of Asian immigrants, who tend to be better educated, has grown. In general, improvements in education around the world—including in places like Mexico—mean that immigrants from all regions are arriving to the United States with more schooling, Pew reports.

This new crop of undocumented immigrants is also more likely to speak English. In fact, despite the overall drop in new arrivals, the number of proficient English speakers grew to 3.4 million in 2016 from 2.8 million in 2007, Pew found. A look at Pew’s data on immigrants’ English proficiency and the shifts in their countries of origin help explain why:

Region of origin % English proficient Change in share of recent arrivals 2007-2016 (percentage points)
Mexico 25 -28
Northern Triangle 22 7
Asia 54 9
Other regions 69 12

To be sure, undocumented immigrants are still far less educated than people born in the United States. Only 8% of American adults lack a high school degree, compared with 44% of all undocumented immigrants, for example.

But the changes in undocumented immigration suggest that the gap will continue to shrink in coming years.

Source: Undocumented immigrants in the US are increasingly better educated

USA: Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime?

Spoiler – no:

A lot of research has shown that there’s no causal connection between immigration and crime in the United States. But after one such study was reported on jointly by The Marshall Project and The Upshot last year, readers had one major complaint: Many argued it wasunauthorized immigrants who increase crime, not immigrants over all.

An analysis derived from new data is now able to help address this question, suggesting that growth in illegal immigration does not lead to higher local crime rates.

In part because it’s hard to collect data on them, undocumented immigrants have been the subjects of few studies, including those related to crime. But the Pew Research Center recently released estimates of undocumented populations sorted by metro area, which The Marshall Project has compared with local crime rates published by the F.B.I. For the first time, there is an opportunity for a broader analysis of how unauthorized immigration might have affected crime rates since 2007.

A large majority of the areas recorded decreases in both violent and property crime between 2007 and 2016, consistent with a quarter-century decline in crime across the United States. The analysis found that crime went down at similar rates regardless of whether the undocumented population rose or fell. Areas with more unauthorized migration appeared to have larger drops in crime, although the difference was small and uncertain.

(Illegal immigration itself is either a civil violation or a misdemeanor, depending on whether someone overstayed a visa or crossed the border without authorization.)

Most types of crime had an almost flat trend line, indicating that changes in undocumented populations had little or no effect on crime in the various metro areas under survey. Murder was the only type of crime that appeared to show a rise, but again the difference was small and uncertain (effectively zero).

For undocumented immigrants, being arrested for any reason would mean facing eventual deportation — and for some a return to whatever danger or deprivation they’d sought to escape at home.

There is no exact count of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. To create estimates, experts at Pew subtracted Department of Homeland Security counts of immigrants with legal status from the number of foreign-born people counted by the Census Bureau. Many organizations and agencies, including the D.H.S., use this residual estimation method; it is generally considered the best one available. As of 2016, there were an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants nationwide, down a million and a half since 2007.

Jeffrey Passel, a Pew senior demographer, and his team estimated changes in undocumented populations for roughly 180 metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2016. For comparison, The Marshall Project calculated corresponding three-year averages of violent and property crime rates from the Uniform Crime Reporting program, and the change in those rates.

The results of the analysis resemble those of other studies on the relationship between undocumented immigration and crime. Last year, a report by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, found that unauthorized immigrants in Texas committed fewer crimes than their native-born counterparts. A state-level analysis in Criminology, an academic journal, found that undocumented immigration did not increase violent crime and was in fact associated with slight decreases in it. Another Cato study found that unauthorized immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated.

At the more local level, an analysis by Governing magazine reported that metropolitan areas with more undocumented residents had similar rates of violent crime, and significantly lower rates of property crime, than areas with smaller numbers of such residents in 2014. After controlling for multiple socioeconomic factors, the author of the analysis, Mike Maciag, found that for every 1 percentage point increase in an area’s population that was undocumented there were 94 fewer property crimes per 100,000 residents.

More research is underway about the potential effects of undocumented immigration on crime. Robert Adelman, a professor at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, whose group’s research The Marshall Project and The Upshot have previously documented, is leading a team to expand on the Governing analysis. Early results suggest unauthorized immigration has no effect on violent crime, and is associated with lower property crime, the same as Mr. Maciag found.

Preliminary findings indicate that other socioeconomic factors like unemployment rates, housing instability and measures of economic hardship all predict higher rates of different types of crime, while undocumented immigrant populations do not.

Many studies have established that immigrants commit crimes at consistently lower rates than native-born Americans. But a common concern is whether immigrants put pressure on native-born populations in any number of ways — for instance, by increasing job competition — that could indirectly lead to more crime and other negative impacts.

According to Mr. Adelman and his team, however, the impact of undocumented immigrants is probably similar to what the research indicates about immigrants over all: They tend to bring economic and cultural benefits to their communities. They typically come to America to find work, not to commit crimes, says Yulin Yang, a member of the team.

The data suggests that when it comes to crime, the difference between someone who is called a legal immigrant and an illegal one doesn’t seem to matter.