Steep Rise In Interracial Marriages Among Newlyweds 50 Years After They Became Legal : NPR

Integration:

Close to 50 years after interracial marriages became legal across the U.S., the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

Chart: Intermarriage among newlyweds has risen from 3% to 17% since 1967

The Pew report comes about a month before the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia. Mildred Loving, a part-Native American, part-black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, landed in a Virginia county jail for getting married. Today, one in six newlyweds marry someone outside their race, which appears to allude to a more accepting society.

Among adults who are not black, there’s a shrinking share of those who say they would be opposed to having a close relative marrying someone who is black — from 63 percent in 1990, to 14 percent in 2016. The share of people who oppose marriages with Asian or Hispanic people has also dropped from about one in five to around one in ten adults not in those groups. Among those who are not white, the share opposed to a relative marrying a white person has dropped from 7 percent to 4 percent.

Here are some of the other interesting findings from Pew about interracial and interethnic marriages:

Asian and Latino newlyweds are more likely to marry outside of their race or ethnicity than black and white newlyweds

More than a quarter of Asian newlyweds (29 percent) and Latino newlyweds (27 percent) are married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. Those rates go up even higher for those born in the U.S. — to 46 percent for Asian newlyweds and 39 percent for Hispanic newlyweds.

Interracial and interethnic marriages are more common among college-educated black and Latino newlyweds, but not among white or Asian newlyweds

While educational level is not a major factor for white newlyweds, black and Latino newlyweds with at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity than those with some college experience or less education. That educational gap is starkest among Latino newlyweds. As the authors of the Pew report, Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown, write: “While almost half (46 percent) of Hispanic newlyweds with a bachelor’s degree were intermarried in 2015, this share drops to (16 percent) for those with a high school diploma or less – a pattern driven partially, but not entirely, by the higher share of immigrants among the less educated.”

But among Asian newlyweds, those with some college experience (39 percent) are more likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (29 percent) or with a high school diploma or less (26 percent). “Asian newlyweds with some college are somewhat less likely to be immigrants, and this may contribute to the higher rates of intermarriage for this group,” the Pew report suggests. But it also notes that this trend also holds true for Asian newlyweds who were not born in the U.S.

Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say that the increase of interracial marriages is good for society

There is a stark political split in how people feel about interracial marriage. About half (49 percent) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say that growing numbers of people marrying others of different races is good for society, compared to more than a quarter (28 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Most Republicans (60 percent) say the rise of interracial marriages doesn’t make much of a difference.

Religion Could Be More Durable Than We Thought : NPR

Part of the uniqueness of America:

Here is a proposition that may seem self-evident to many people: As societies become more modern, religion loses its grip. Superstition inevitably gives way to rationality. A belief in magic is replaced by a belief in science.

Sociologists call it the “secularization thesis.” In 1822, Thomas Jefferson suggested an early version of it, predicting that Unitarianism “will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from north to south.”

Some data from modern countries support the thesis. Fifty years ago, about four of ten children in England attended Sunday school. Today, it’s only about ten percent. In the United States, just five percent of the population in 1972 reported no religious affiliation. By 2016, one out of four said they were unaffiliated.

Recent research, however, has suggested that religion is more durable than was previously thought. While church attendance has declined sharply in western Europe, secularization has been less evident in the United States. The number of Americans who list their church affiliation as “none” has certainly increased, but more than 70 percent still identify generally as Christian.

A study released this week by the Pew Research Center on the relation in the United States between religiosity and educational attainment (one component of modernization, along with technological change and others) at first glance appears to support the secularization thesis: The more education people have, the less religious they are.

“College graduates are less likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty,” noted the lead Pew researcher, Gregory Smith. “They are less likely to say that religion is very important in their lives. They are less likely to say they pray regularly, and college graduates are more likely than others to identify themselves as atheists and agnostics.”

A closer look at the data, however, offers a more nuanced picture. While highly educated Jews tend to be less observant than less educated Jews, the relation between education and religiosity is weaker among those Americans with a strong Christian identity.

“Highly educated [Christian] adherents are just as religious, in some cases more religious, than their fellow members who have might have less education,” Smith said. Among mainline Protestants, for example, college graduates were actually found to be more likely than non-college graduates to report weekly church attendance. Regardless of their educational attainment, these Christians find meaning in their church experience.

The sharp rise in the number of Americans who report no religious affiliation may also have an explanation that is unrelated to secularization. Research by Philip Schwadel at the University of Nebraska suggests it may simply be that it was less acceptable 50 years ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated than it is today.

Schwadel and others also argue there are significant differences between the United States and Europe when it comes to the process of secularization. In Europe, organized religion has generally been associated with governments to a far greater degree than in the United States. As a result, anti-government sentiment may have been more likely in Europe to produce antagonism toward the church. Government support for religion in many western European countries may also have weakened the vitality of those church communities.

“When a state creates a relationship with a religion, religious leaders no longer have the same impetus to go out and get people excited,” said Schwadel. “They get money from the state through taxes, so they don’t have to collect money from their congregants.”

In the United States, by contrast, religious leaders have to “hustle” more, Schwadel said. “They need to get more congregants if their church is going to survive.” Perhaps as a result, Americans are more committed than Europeans to their church congregations.

The notion that religious belief and practice have evolved with modernization does remain broadly accepted. As literacy has increased and scientific knowledge has advanced, supernatural explanations for developments in the natural world have become less important. Religion has nevertheless survived, Schwadel argues, because it plays a variety of roles.

“Religion provides people with a lot more than just explanations for the natural world,” Schwadel said. “It provides community. It provides them with friends. It provides them with psychological support and economic support. It provides a lot more than simply an understanding of where they are in the world in relation to the afterlife.”

A 2016 Pew study found that more Americans reported growing feelings of “spirituality” even while saying they were less attached to organized religion. To the extent that churches respond to that need, they will presumably have better prospects for survival.

The question facing religious leaders and sociologists of religion is whether modernization will eventually lead to secularization in the United States and other countries, just as it has in western Europe. Some argue that a diminished emphasis on traditional doctrine about the meaning of salvation, for example, or the existence of heaven and hell, is merely an early sign of growing secularism.

Source: Religion Could Be More Durable Than We Thought : NPR

How America’s Idea Of Illegal Immigration Doesn’t Always Match Reality : NPR

A very good analysis with sound data that provide context to US immigration debates and policies:

When you think of illegal immigration in the U.S., do you picture a border crosser or a visa overstayer? A family or a single person? A farmworker or a waiter?

People living in the U.S. without legal status are frequently invoked in American politics — especially in recent months. But the conversation is often short on facts about the millions of people who fall into this category.

There are, however, outdated beliefs: A Pew Research Center survey in 2015 found that very few Americans are aware of recent changes in immigration patterns.

Here’s a look at the actual statistics about people living in the U.S. illegally.

We should note that there are a few caveats about this data. Different research groups use different methodologies, and in some cases, they rely on estimates. We’ve included links to all our data sources so you can read about their methods in more detail.

About 11 million people live in the U.S. without authorization

There are far more naturalized citizens than unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., and slightly more green card holders, according to the Pew Research Center.

The total number of people living in the country illegally — about 11 million — has made headlines recently, because immigration advocates suggest that under the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies, almost all of them could be targeted for deportation. (More than 700,000 “DREAMers” — immigrants who were brought into the U.S. illegally or overstayed their visas as children — are still temporarily protected from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.)

Longtime residents outnumber new arrivals

A large majority of those people currently living in the U.S. illegally have been here for a decade or longer, which is a major shift from the situation at the turn of the millennium.

About two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more, Pew says. Only 14 percent arrived within the past five years.

In the late 1990s, the number of new arrivals was far higher, and the share of longtime residents far lower.

Mexicans make up a dominant — but declining — share of this population

Mexico is “the leading nation of origin for U.S. unauthorized immigrants,” Pew writes, but the share of immigrants from Mexico is also declining.

That is to say, Mexican immigrants are a shrinking majority of the population living in the country through illegal immigration.

Of people living in the U.S. illegally, more than half are from Mexico. The population from that one country far outnumbers the population from entire continents. But there are fewer people of Mexican origin living in the U.S. now than there were a decade ago.

You can see the trend lines clearly if you look just at people arriving in the U.S. illegally, instead of the millions who live here. The percentage arriving from Mexico has dropped markedly, while more immigrants are coming from Africa, Central America and Asia.

The reasons for the shifting immigration patterns are complex. For Central American immigrants, conflicts in their home countries certainly play a role. The Migration Policy Institute suggests that there might be similar reasons for increased migration from Asia and Africa.

Source: How America’s Idea Of Illegal Immigration Doesn’t Always Match Reality : The Two-Way : NPR

Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best

Interesting new study by political scientists and Peter Loewen, reinforcing in part some of the conclusions of the earlier Angus Reid poll (CBC-Angus Reid poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to ‘fit in’) and subject to some of the same critiques (Angus Reid’s survey actually shows high level of support for our diverse society: CardozoHow Angus Reid, CBC got it wrong about multiculturalism: Jedwab).

That being said, their policy conclusions – our political system reduces the risk, politicians and others should avoid pandering or cultivating xenophobic attitudes – are sound:

Our core conclusion:? Canadian attitudes are not exceptionally pro-immigrant or racially enlightened. Instead, Canadian society contains the potential for the same kinds of hate that we see elsewhere.

One question we asked was whether respondents would support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose cutting off all immigration to Canada. Not surprisingly, only 19 per cent of respondents supported such a step. However, only 46 per cent expressed opposition, with the rest on the fence. How does this compare to our southern neighbours? In 2010, the same question was asked of the American public. There, a similar 42 per cent expressed opposition. When asked about allowing immigrants from poor countries, the Canadian public answered more positively than 9 and less positively than 11 European countries where the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. In other words, Canadian attitudes are normal for a developed country. Canada is not exceptional on that score.

The study, a project of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), also found that while attitudes among Canadians towards refugees and immigrants range largely from positive to benign, those views are not necessarily strongly held.

Study author Michael Donnelly, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, concludes that, as a result, there is potential for intolerant, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee sentiment to increase.

None of this means that Canadian politics will inevitably go the way of populist rhetoric and action. Canadian institutions and — especially — Canadian leaders have the ability to guide politics, to maintain the norms of non-racism and to pursue policies of inclusion and cooperation. Attitudes do not lead inexorably to policies or even to politics. As two of the three largest Canadian political parties choose new leaders, those party elites and activists who have a say in the process have a duty to avoid the mistakes of the U.S. Republican Party. There, a fractured elite and the use of primary elections meant that Donald Trump could use racist demagoguery to capture the leadership of a party that contains many for whom such rhetoric was not attractive. That, in turn, meant that when the normal processes of partisanship and retrospective voting took over in the general election, he had a roughly 50/50 chance of capturing the presidency.

To see if this could happen in Canada, we asked respondents who expressed support for one of the four largest parties to choose between hypothetical candidates for leadership, based only on their names, ages, province of residence and positions on the CPP, immigration and refugees. What we found is, in some ways encouraging, but contains hints of danger for the Canadian model of openness and multiculturalism. We saw no evidence of discrimination against candidates with Indian or Francophone names, and no evidence of discrimination against female names. However, among none of the parties was there clear evidence of an electoral benefit to more open immigration or refugee policies. Indeed, among Conservatives, accepting zero Syrian refugees is a “winning” strategy, and among NDP partisans, a candidate that called for increasing economic immigration appears to suffer a large electoral penalty.

We do not write this to encourage candidates to pursue such policies in their respective leadership contests. After all, public surveys offer little insight into the opinions of the small slice of Canadians who will select leaders in both parties. Rather we offer this as evidence of two claims. First, Canadian institutions of leader selection may lead to better, less divisive leaders. Second, politicians and those selecting them have a responsibility to avoid xenophobic pandering and to reinforce the norms of behavior that have allowed the Canadian model, for all its faults, to create the open, exciting and peaceful society we enjoy.

Source: Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best | National Post

Another poll from Pew provides a slightly different picture:

Most Canadians don’t care where residents are born, but they do care about whether they speak English or French.

A global study of national identity by Pew Research has discovered that Canadians are among the least inclined to think place of birth defines whether someone is an authentic citizen.

Only 21 per cent of Canadians said place of birth is important. That compares to 32 per cent of those in the U.S. and more than 50 per cent of the population in Greece and Japan who believe birthplace is crucial to national identity.

The Pew Research study was done in the wake of growing concerns in the U.S. and Europe about globalization, high migration rates and protectionism, factors that have contributed to the rise of Donald Trump and immigration-skeptic parties.

pew-graph-identity-place-of-birth

Canada under the Liberals has gone a different direction, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talking about this being the world’s “first post-national country.”

Even though Canadians did not emphasize place of birth in the Pew poll, they did care about whether residents can speak English or French, the official languages.

Three in five Canadians agreed that “being able to speak our national language(s) is very important for being truly Canadian.”

Canadians’ language expectations, however, were still quite a bit lower than they are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the U.S. (See chart below.)

In Canada, one out of five people do not have English or French as their mother tongue.

Source: ‘True’ Canadians don’t need to be born here, but language matters: Poll

Atheists, Agnostics, Nonreligious Remain Far Underrepresented In US Congress : NPR

Interesting comparison between the US Congress and the population it represents (in Canada, it is about one in four). In terms of the religion of Canadian MPs, my analysis of visible minority MPs is below:

election-2015-vismin-and-foreign-born-mps-018

atheists__agnostics__nonreligious_remain_far_underrepresented_in_congress___nprOne in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Yet just one of 535 members of the new Congress is.

That’s what the latest data from the Pew Research Center show on the opening day of the 115th Congress. The nation’s top legislative body remains far more male and white than the rest of the U.S. population as well, but religion is one of the more invisible areas where legislators in Washington simply aren’t representative of the people they represent.

Only Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema admits to being “unaffiliated,” which Pew defines as people who are atheist, agnostic or who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” That means only 0.2 percent of Congress is unaffiliated, compared with 23 percent of U.S. adults. That group is faster-growing than any religious group in America, as Pew found in 2015.

Meanwhile, nearly 91 percent of congressional members are Christian, compared with 71 percent of U.S. adults. Here’s a full breakdown of how Congress’ religious affiliations compare with those of the U.S. population:

America’s nonreligious are young — and not politically organized

Why the massive gap? For one, religiously unaffiliated people tend to be young, and Congress just isn’t that young. In the 114th Congress, the average age for House members was 57 years old and for senators it was 61. (To a modest extent, this is a reflection of age rules: Senators must be 30 or older, and representatives have to be at least 25.)

In addition, younger Americans tend to have much lower voting rates than older people. That may also contribute, though the logic requires a couple of leaps — if this means the (relatively young) religiously unaffiliated population isn’t voting as much, and if the religiously unaffiliated are more drawn to likewise unaffiliated politicians — that could also help explain the lack of “nones” in Congress. Likewise, the inverse is true: If older (and more religious) Americans are voting for more religious politicians, it means less room for the nonreligious ones.

(Perhaps unsurprisingly, the unaffiliated Sinema is also relatively young for a congressional member at 40.)

One more potential reason unaffiliated people aren’t in power: Not being affiliated often also means not being politically cohesive.

Source: Atheists, Agnostics, Nonreligious Remain Far Underrepresented In Congress : NPR

USA: Most say immigrants strengthen the country – Pew Research

The latest numbers from Pew Research, both surprising in terms of overall support and less so given the sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans:

About six-in-ten Americans (63%) now say immigrants strengthen the United States because of their hard work and talents, while 27% say immigrants are a burden on the country because they take jobs, housing and health care. The share of Americans who see immigrants as more of a strength than a burden is now at its highest level in more than twenty years of Pew Research Center surveys.

The stark partisan differences in opinion on how immigrants impact the nation are little changed over the course of the last year. Today, an overwhelming share of Democrats and leaners (82%) think immigrants strengthen the country with their hard work and talents, while just 13% say they are a burden. By contrast, Republicans are more divided: Roughly as many (44%) say immigrants are more of a burden on the country because they take jobs, housing and health care as say they strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents (39%).

There are key demographic differences within the Republican Party, however. About half of Republicans under the age of 50 say immigrants strength the country (51%), while fewer say they are a burden (35%). For older Republicans, the balance of opinion is the reverse: More say immigrants burden the country (52%) than say they strengthen it (29%).

Similarly, Republicans with a college education are more likely to say immigrants strengthen the country than say they burden the U.S. (51% vs. 34%). By contrast, Republicans without a college degree are more likely to say immigrants burden the country because they take jobs, housing and health care (47% vs. 36%).

There are only modest demographic differences among Democrats; wide majorities across age and education groups say immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents.

Source: 3. Political values: Government regulation, environment, immigration, race, views of Islam | Pew Research Center

For Interracial Couples, Growing Acceptance, With Some Exceptions – The New York Times

In addition to the numbers cited below, some good personal stories in the full article:

It’s a sentiment that mixed-race couples hear all too frequently, as interracial marriages have become increasingly common in the United States since 1967, when the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws banning such unions. The story of the couple whose relationship led to the court ruling is chronicled in the movie, “Loving,” now in theaters.

In 2013, 12 percent of all new marriages were interracial, the Pew Research Center reported. According to a 2015 Pew report on intermarriage, 37 percent of Americans agreed that having more people marrying different races was a good thing for society, up from 24 percent only four years earlier; 9 percent thought it was a bad thing.

…People of some races tend to intermarry more than others, according to the Pew report. Of the 3.6 million adults who wed in 2013, 58 percent of American Indians, 28 percent of Asians, 19 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites have a spouse whose race is different from their own.Asian women are more likely than Asian men to marry interracially. Of newlyweds in 2013, 37 percent of Asian women married someone who was not Asian, while only 16 percent of Asian men did so. There’s a similar gender gap for blacks, where men are much more likely to intermarry (25 percent) compared to only 12 percent of black women.

Source: For Interracial Couples, Growing Acceptance, With Some Exceptions – The New York Times

What France thinks of multiculturalism and Islam – The Washington Post

2300europemuslims-11-1024x799Some interesting polling data that sometimes gets lost in the rhetoric:

In the aftermath of a devastating attack in Nice, France, Poland’s interior minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, told reporters that the blame lay with the embrace of multiculturalism. “Have we not learned lessons from previous attacks in Paris and Brussels?” the Financial Times reported Blaszczak as saying. “This is a consequence of the policy of multicultural politics, and political correctness.”

A member of Poland’s controversial right-wing Law and Justice Party, Blaszczak’s point may be in bad taste. However, many around the world probably agree with it.

It’s certainly hard to disagree with the idea that France seems to be more embracing of multiculturalism than Poland. In a recently released study by the Pew Research Centerthat was conducted early this year, just 24 percent of French people were found to believe that diversity made France a worse place to live. A higher proportion, 26 percent, said it made France better, while 48 percent said that it didn’t make much difference.

These results appeared to show that France has one of the most tolerant, though also largely indifferent, attitudes to racial and ethnic diversity in Europe. Only Spain had a higher positive view of diversity. Meanwhile, in Poland, 40 percent of the population said that diversity was a negative, while only 14 percent said it could be a positive and 33 percent said it made no difference. Hungary, Italy and Greece were the only countries with higher negative feelings toward diversity.

The same poll found that France had a far more positive view of Muslims than much of Europe. Despite a series of terror attacks that were inspired by Islamic extremism, just 29 percent of French citizens were found to have a negative view of Muslims, while 67 percent had a positive view. While this was an increase of 5 percentage points over previous years, only Germany and Britain had more positive views.

Conversely, in Poland, 66 percent had negative views of Muslims, while only 19 percent said they had positive views. Hungary and Italy were the only countries with more negative views — 72 percent and 69 percent, respectively.

People in Poland were also far more likely to believe that Muslims in their country were supporters of groups like the Islamic State, a group whose supporters have cheered the attack on Nice but have not claimed official responsibility. Twelve percent of Poles were said to believe that “most” Muslims in their country supported extremist groups, and a further 23 percent said “many.” Just 12 percent said “very few” supported these groups. In France, 44 percent said “very few” Muslims in their country supported extremism, while just 6 percent said “most” and 13 percent said “many.”

And despite the perceived link between refugees from Muslim majority countries and terrorism that is widespread across Europe, Pew’s data showed that on the whole, French citizens were more concerned about economic factors.

Source: What France thinks of multiculturalism and Islam – The Washington Post

The Divide Over Islam and National Laws in the Muslim World | Pew Research Center

How_much_should_the_Quran_influence_our_country_s_laws____Pew_Research_CenterUseful indication of the differences among countries in the Muslim world:

As strife in the Middle East continues to make headlines, from the militant group ISIS to Syrian refugees, the Muslim world is sharply divided on what the relationship should be between the tenets of Islam and the laws of governments. Across 10 countries with significant Muslim populations surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2015, there is a striking difference in the extent to which people think the Quran should influence their nation’s laws.

Source: The Divide Over Islam and National Laws in the Muslim World | Pew Research Center

US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America? – BBC News

Useful summary of what some of the polling data indicates:

The Pew Research Centre, which surveys global attitudes, said anti-Americanism was strong around the word around the time of the US invasion of Iraq.

However, currently there is little evidence of profound anti-American sentiment except for in a handful of countries, it says.

Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at Pew, says sentiment towards the US varies widely between Muslim-majority countries.

“We tend to see more negative sentiment among Muslims in the Middle East, such as those from Egypt and Jordan,” he says.

Barack Obama meeting American MuslimsImage copyrightGetty Image
“But Muslims outside the Middle East generally have a more positive outlook,” he adds.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, 62% of people hold a favourable opinion of the US, Pew’s latest data suggests.

That figure rises to 80% in Senegal, a country which is over 90% Muslim. Mr Stokes points out that this is a stronger approval rate than Germany.

“Attitudes have also been changing over time. We’ve seen a gradual rise in positive sentiment since President Barack Obama came to power,” Mr Stokes says.

“Even in the Palestinian Territories, where sentiment is 70% unfavourable, that’s an improvement on 82% in Barack Obama’s first year.”

The BBC World Service commissioned its own poll of global attitudes in 24 countries in 2014.

Among other things, it asked respondents if they thought the US “had a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world”.

Pakistanis generally held the worst view of the US, with 61% saying the US had a negative influence.

But both China and Germany were not far behind, scoring 59% and 57% respectively.

Turkey, almost 98% Muslim, was split between 36% positive, 36% negative and 28% neutral.

Source: US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America? – BBC News