The past decade in the United States has seen technological advancements, demographic shifts and major changes in public opinion. Pew Research Center has tracked these developments through surveys, demographic analyses and other research. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Demographics are not destiny, but steady and predictable
changes to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of
American politics. Most demographic groups have a political lean, so a group
increasing or decreasing in size over time will tend to benefit one party or
type of politics over another. The most well-known example is the growth of the
nonwhite population in the United States, which—since nonwhites tend to lean
heavily Democratic—is typically viewed as tilting the electoral terrain
somewhat toward the Democrats over time as well as increasing the weight of
nonwhite voters within the Democratic Party over time. But other changes are
important, such as the decline of noncollege educated voters, particularly
whites; the aging of the adult population; and the rise of new generations to
replace older ones.
In this report, the authors will explore the effect of these changes on the demographic composition of the electorate and, especially, on the composition of the two major political parties. Reflecting the latter focus, this analysis will not focus on how many individuals from a given demographic group voted or will likely vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election. Rather, it focuses on how many people who voted or are likely to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election belong to a given demographic group. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
This brief explores demographic differences in graduate school enrollment and completion. Students from higher-income backgrounds are more likely than others to enroll, more likely to complete their programs, and more likely to earn degrees likely to generate high earnings. When four-year college graduates from lower-income backgrounds do continue their education beyond college, they are more likely than those from higher-income backgrounds to seek master’s degrees, which yield a considerably lower earnings premium than doctoral and professional degrees. Black college graduates—who make up a much smaller share of their age group than white and Asian college graduates—are actually more likely than those from other racial and ethnic groups to go to graduate school. But they disproportionately enroll in master’s degree programs and about one-quarter of black master’s degree students attend for-profit institutions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
According to the report, the West’s postwar social welfare system is under growing threat as the global demographic structure is being turned upside down. And it is not just the West, but also China and other middle-income powers who will have to deal with an aging workforce and unsustainable health and pension costs in the next decade. For sub-Saharan African countries whose birthrates remain high, overpopulation carries big costs not only for them, but for the rest of the world, which will depend on them for a growing proportion of the world’s workforce. Burrows explores how longer life expectancies, aging workforces, and high birthrates will affect the future economic growth and development of countries around the world. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Racial diversity will be the most defining and impactful characteristic of the millennial generation. Millennials between ages 18 and 34 are now synonymous with America’s young adults, fully occupying labor force and voting ages. They comprise 23 percent of the total population, 30 percent of the voting age population, and 38 percent of the primary working age population. Among racial minorities their numbers are even more imposing. Millennials make up 27 percent of the total minority population, 38 percent of voting age minorities, and a whopping 43 percent of primary working age minorities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Broad demographic shifts in marital status, educational attainment and employment have transformed the way young adults in the U.S. are living, and the analysis of census data highlights the implications of these changes for the most basic element of their lives – where they call home. In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The report profiles the approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, examining population growth trends over time by country or region of origin as well as geographic distribution by state and top county destinations. The report also assesses eligibility and application rates for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, analyzing differences in application rates by national origin. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The authors document large income-based gaps in educational attainments, including high-school graduation rates and college-going. They also show that income-related gaps in both educational credentials and academic skill have narrowed substantially over the past several years in Massachusetts. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The number of children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by parents or legal guardians and who lack proper immigration documents has raised complex and competing sets of humanitarian concerns and immigration control issues. The report focuses on the demographics of unaccompanied alien children while they are in removal proceedings. Overwhelmingly, the children are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The median age of unaccompanied children has decreased from 17 years in FY2011 to 16 years during the first seven months of FY2014. A greater share of males than females are represented among this population. However, females have steadily increased in total numbers and as a percentage of the flow since FY2011. The median age of females has dropped from 17 years in FY2011–the year that was the median age across all groups of children–to 15 years in the first seven months of FY2014.