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Total Number of U.S. Statehouse Reporters Rises, but Fewer Are on the Beat Full Time

April 5, 2022

From voting rights and redistricting to abortion and public education, state capitols across the United States are at the epicenter of the nation's key public policy debates. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as state capitol buildings became ground zero in the debate over mask and vaccine mandates and other pandemic policies.A new Pew Research Center study finds that the total number of reporters assigned to the 50 state capitols to inform citizens about legislative and administrative activity has increased by 11% since 2014, the last time this study was conducted. The gain comes largely from two main developments: new nonprofit news outlets that are employing statehouse reporters, and a shift to more part-time statehouse reporting.

Global Public Opinion in an Era of Democratic Anxiety

December 7, 2021

As democratic nations have wrestled with economic, social and geopolitical upheaval in recent years, the future of liberal democracy has come into question. In countries across the globe, democratic norms and civil liberties have deteriorated, while populists have enjoyed surprising success at the ballot box. Newly democratic nations have struggled, while more-established, once self-assured democracies have stumbled, exposing long-simmering weaknesses in their social fabrics and institutional designs.These trends have been well-documented by organizations such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, Freedom House, International IDEA and the Varieties of Democracy project (V-Dem), which measure and track the quality of democracy around the world. Public opinion researchers have also focused on these issues by examining how citizens think about democracy and its alternatives. At Pew Research Center, we've applied a comparative, cross-national lens to explore global trends in attitudes toward political representation and individual rights.

Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System

December 2, 2021

Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System defines a vision for a modernized public health system in the 21st century and provides a framework of practical, prioritized, and bipartisan actions for policymakers and public health officials to guide strategic investments and decision-making to help translate the vision into a reality with a focus on equity. The federal government continues to provide critical leadership and funding to navigate the current pandemic and has a responsibility to make significant investments and changes in public health for the post-pandemic future. Long-term, increased, sustainable funding and policy leadership from the federal government will be crucial to support this five-year vision, framework, and set of actions, as most public health departments are concerned over their funding levels, notwithstanding the recent infusion of money.

The Future of Digital Spaces and Their Role in Democracy

November 22, 2021

This is the 13th"Future of the Internet" canvassing Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center have conducted together to gather expert views about important digital issues. In this report, the questions focused on the prospects for improvements in the tone and activities of the digital public sphere by 2035. This is a nonscientific canvassing based on a nonrandom sample; this broad array of opinions about where current trends may lead in the next decade represents only the points of view of the individuals who responded to the queries.Pew Research Center and Elon's Imagining the Internet Center built a database of experts to canvass from a wide range of fields, inviting professionals and policy people based in government bodies, nonprofits and foundations, technology businesses and think tanks, as well as interested academics and technology innovators. The predictions reported here came in response to a set of questions in an online canvassing conducted between June 29 and Aug. 2, 2021.In all, 862 technology innovators and developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists responded to at least one of the questions covered in this report. More on the methodology underlying this canvassing and the participants can be found in the section titled "About this canvassing of experts."

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology - 2021

November 9, 2021

Partisan polarization remains the dominant, seemingly unalterable condition of American politics. Republicans and Democrats agree on very little – and when they do, it often is in the shared belief that they have little in common.Yet the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats sometimes obscures the divisions and diversity of views that exist within both partisan coalitions – and the fact that many Americans do not fit easily into either one.Republicans are divided on some principles long associated with the GOP: an affinity for businesses and corporations, support for low taxes and opposition to abortion. Democrats face substantial internal differences as well – some that are long-standing, such as on the importance of religion in society, others more recent. For example, while Democrats widely share the goal of combating racial inequality in the United States, they differ on whether systemic change is required to achieve that goal.These intraparty disagreements present multiple challenges for both parties: They complicate the already difficult task of governing in a divided nation. In addition, to succeed politically, the parties must maintain the loyalty of highly politically engaged, more ideological voters, while also attracting support among less engaged voters – many of them younger – with weaker partisan ties.Pew Research Center's new political typology provides a road map to today's fractured political landscape. It segments the public into nine distinct groups, based on an analysis of their attitudes and values. The study is primarily based on a survey of 10,221 adults conducted July 8-18, 2021; it also draws from several additional interviews with these respondents conducted since January 2020.

Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation

June 29, 2021

More than 70 years after India became free from colonial rule, Indians generally feel their country has lived up to one of its post-independence ideals: a society where followers of many religions can live and practice freely.India's massive population is diverse as well as devout. Not only do most of the world's Hindus, Jains and Sikhs live in India, but it also is home to one of the world's largest Muslim populations and to millions of Christians and Buddhists.A major new Pew Research Center survey of religion across India, based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), finds that Indians of all these religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths.

Evaluating Scenarios Toward Zero Plastic Pollution

September 18, 2020

Plastic pollution is a pervasive and growing problem. To estimate the effectiveness of interventions to reduce plastic pollution, we modeled stocks and flows of municipal solid waste and four sources of microplastics through the global plastic system for five scenarios between 2016 and 2040. Implementing all feasible interventions reduced plastic pollution by 40% from 2016 rates and 78% relative to "business as usual" in 2040. Even with immediate and concerted action, 710 million metric tons of plastic waste cumulatively entered aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. To avoid a massive build-up of plastic in the environment, coordinated global action is urgently needed to reduce plastic consumption; increase rates of reuse, waste collection, and recycling; expand safe disposal systems; and accelerate innovation in the plastic value chain.

Amid Protests, Majorities Across Racial and Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement

June 12, 2020

As demonstrations continue across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while inMinneapolis police custody, Americans see the protests both as a reaction to Floyd's death and an expression offrustration over longstanding issues. Most adults say tensions between black people and police and concerns aboutthe treatment of black people in the U.S. – in addition to anger over Floyd's death – have contributed a great dealto the protests, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About six-in-ten U.S. adults say some people taking advantage of the situation to engage in criminal behavior has also been a major contributing factor in the protests. There are wide partisan gaps in these views. 

How States Are Expanding Broadband Access

February 1, 2020

This report from the Pew Charitable Trusts highlights practices for state programs aimed at expanding broadband access to un- and underserved areas.Based on interviews with more than three hundred representatives of state broadband programs, Internet service providers, local governments, and broadband coalitions, the report identified five promising and mutually reinforcing practices: stakeholder outreach and engagement at both the state and local levels; a policy framework with well-defined goals that connects broadband to other policy priorities; planning and capacity building in support of broadband infrastructure projects; funding and operations through grant programs, with an emphasis on accountability and data collection; and program evaluation and evolution to ensure that lessons learned inform the next iteration of goals and activities. The study explores how nine states — California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin — have adapted and implemented different combinations of those practices to close gaps in broadband access.

Migratory Convergence Facilitates Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song

September 4, 2019

Cultural transmission of behaviour is important in a wide variety of vertebrate taxa from birds to humans. Vocal traditions and vocal learning provide a strong foundation for studying culture and its transmission in both humans and cetaceans. Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) perform complex, culturally transmitted song displays that can change both evolutionarily (through accumulations of small changes) or revolutionarily (where a population rapidly adopts a novel song). The degree of coordination and conformity underlying song revolutions makes their study of particular interest. Acoustic contact on migratory routes may provide a mechanism for cultural revolutions of song, yet these areas of contact remain uncertain. Here, we compared songs recorded from the Kermadec Islands, a recently discovered migratory stopover, to multiple South Pacific wintering grounds. Similarities in song themes from the Kermadec Islands and multiple wintering locations (from New Caledonia across to the Cook Islands) suggest a location allowing cultural transmission of song eastward across the South Pacific, active song learning (hybrid songs) and the potential for cultural convergence after acoustic isolation at the wintering grounds. As with the correlations in humans between genes, communication and migration, the migration patterns of humpback whales are written into their songs.

Bot Meets Whale: Best Practices for Mitigating Negative Interactions Between Marine Mammals and MicroROVs

August 21, 2019

Low-cost, portable, observation-class, underwater remotely operated vehicles (microROVs), which can be transported and operated by a single user, are increasingly common tools in scientific, industrial, commercial, and recreational ocean application. Over the last decade, the use of microROVs has boomed; four microROV manufacturers were poised to ship over 10,000 "underwater drones" in 2018 (Thaler, personal observation). This nascent industry provides an affordable underwater observation solution for marine science, conservation, education, and citizen science programs, as well as community groups and other stakeholders wishing to conduct independent marine environmental surveys and provides users with an opportunity to view marine wildlife with minimal disturbance (Figure 1).

Any Port in a Storm: Vessel Activity and the Risk of IUU-Caught Fish Passing through the World’s Most Important Fishing Ports

June 3, 2019

This study assesses the risk of fish from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) sources passing through the world's most important fishing ports and explores the drivers of this risk.Like previous studies it has attempted to rank ports and States based on landings and vessel visits reported by governments by using Automatic Identification System (AIS) positional data transmitted by fishing and fish carrier vessels to identify the locations of ports and rank them based on the frequency of visits by foreignflagged and domestic-flagged vessels. It advances our thinking in that (i) the analysis includes an estimation of the hold capacity of fishing vessels and is therefore able to rank ports based on the total hold capacity of vessels visiting them and (ii) the profile and the frequency of vessel visits inform an assessment of the relative risks between different ports, and the implications for the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The study also assesses the accuracy and utility of AIS-derived data for determining IUU risk globally for all ports, notably by cross-referencing its findings with those of other studies.The study develops a broad suite of indicators that quantify and aggregate the AIS-derived port visit information in conjunction with published and publicly available policy and regulatory information drawn from other sources, such as the compliance record with binding port State measures of regional fisheries management organizations, to raise a global port State IUU Risk Index. The comparison of achieved risk scores with national income, levels of corruption, and geography provides insights into factors driving (aggravating) or modulating (mitigating) risks of IUU-caught seafood passing through a Nation's fishing ports, and supports a view that States with weaker governance also face higher odds of visits by vessels likely to have engaged in IUU fishing (i.e. higher external risks).Based on an in-depth assessment of 14 individual ports globally, appended as a supplement to this paper, the study finds that overall, and with the possible exception of mandatory advance request procedures for entering ports, the implementation of key provisions of the 2009 PSMA remains severely lacking. The two main areas for improvement are the posting of publicly available PSM-related information on national and/or FAO portals, and the formal designation of ports.