Category : Sociology

(Telegraph) Christians now a minority in England and Wales for first time

Christians now account for less than half of England and Wales’ population for the first time in census history, government figures reveal.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) results show that 46.2 per cent of the population (27.5 million people) described themselves as ‘Christian’ in 2021. This marks a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3 per cent (33.3 million people) in 2011.

The census data also shows that every major religion increased over the ten-year period, except for Christianity.

Despite this decrease, ‘Christian’ remained the most common response to the question about religion. ‘No religion’ was the second most common response, increasing to 37.2 per cent (22.2 million) from 25.2 per cent (14.1 million) across the ten-year period.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) World Less Than Satisfied With Climate Efforts

In the remaining days of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, nearly 200 nations are rushing to seek deals that keep climate goals alive.

If they fall short, it will likely disappoint but not surprise much of the world’s population that is already unhappy with efforts to safeguard the environment.

In 66 out of 123 countries that Gallup surveyed in 2021 and 2022, less than half of people report being satisfied with their country’s efforts to preserve the environment.

This list includes many, but not all, of the world’s cumulative top emitters of carbon dioxide, which is linked to global warming. For example, while less than half of adults in one of the biggest emitters — the U.S. — are satisfied with their country’s efforts to preserve the environment, strong majorities in other big emitters such as China (89%) and India (78%) are satisfied.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans Less Optimistic About Next Generation’s Future

Americans have as little optimism as they have had at any time in nearly three decades about young people’s chances of having greater material success in life than their parents. In all, 42% of U.S. adults think it is very (13%) or somewhat (29%) likely that today’s youth “will have a better living standard, better homes, a better education and so on.” This marks an 18-percentage-point drop since June 2019 and is statistically tied with the previous low in 2011.

Since 2008, Gallup has been gauging Americans’ assessments of the next generation’s likelihood of surpassing their parents’ living standards, and before that — from 1995 through 2003 — the question was asked by The New York Times and CBS News. The highest percentage of U.S. adults expecting better lives for the next generation was 71% in 1999 and 2001.

While the latest 42% combined very/somewhat likely reading, from a Sept. 1-16 poll, is two points below the prior low in 2011, the current 13% who are very likely to feel optimistic about the next generation’s achievements matches the 2011 and 2012 readings and is slightly above the lowest on record, 11% in 1995.

Twenty-eight percent say it is somewhat unlikely that today’s youth will have better lives than their parents, while 29% — two points above the prior high from 2011 — say it is very unlikely.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Psychology, Sociology

(Lifeway) How Did the Pandemic Affect Church Shopping and Switching?

While many types of shopping were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, one type became more prevalent—church shopping.

At the height of the pandemic, in October 2020, researchers Nicholas Higgins and Paul Djupe surveyed American churchgoers. They found more than a third (35%) reported visiting another congregation in person or online in the previous six months, according to their report published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. That would indicate a higher-than-normal amount of churchgoers who at least explored other churches. A pre-pandemic study from Pew Research found about half of Americans (49%) said they had looked for a new congregation at some point in their entire adult lives. And moving to a new location was the primary reason for this search (34%).

Of those who were attending a church in spring 2020, 18% reported no longer attending that same congregation by October. Again, that is higher than the pre-pandemic church-switching rate by 4 to 5 percentage points….

The biggest factor seems to be relational ties within the congregation. If a person is active and involved, all other factors don’t appear to move them much. Pastors and church leaders should prioritize increasing the commitment level of those at their church. The deeper churchgoers are involved—increased attendance, small group involvement, volunteering, etc.—the less likely it appears they are to leave.

“At least for now, the results suggest a considerable degree of congregational resilience in the face of overwhelming pressure,” the report concludes. Your church has suffered a shock to the system and probably lost some people. But you have endured and the people who remain are probably more committed than ever. As you move forward, work toward strengthening the ties of current churchgoers even more and assimilating new attendees quickly.Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) U.S. Public Opinion and the Election: the Economy

The importance of the economy in the upcoming election is underscored by measures showing how poorly Americans rate economic conditions today. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is at one of its lowest points over the past 30 years (although not as low as in 2008). About eight in 10 Americans rate the economy as “only fair” or “poor,” and over two-thirds say the economy is getting worse, not better.

Americans’ low confidence in the economy persists despite the fact that about seven in 10 U.S. adults say it is a good time to find a quality job, among the highest such readings across Gallup’s history of asking this question.

That seeming contradiction — inflation and the economy as major concerns at a time when employment is recognized as being robust — highlights one of the difficulties in assessing what the public wants to be done about the economy. I will have more on that below.

Surveys show that Americans are personally feeling the negative effects of inflation, highlighting its potency as an issue this fall. My colleague Jeff Jones recently summarized Gallup data on the personal impact of inflation, noting that “a majority of Americans now say they are experiencing financial hardship from higher prices.” Jeff goes on to review a variety of actions the public is having to take in efforts to deal with the issue, including cutting back on spending and reducing travel.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted earlier this month similarly shows that twice as many Americans say their personal finances have gotten worse over the past year as say they have gotten better. And over seven in 10 report they “have had to cut back on, at least, one necessity or nicety in the past six months to meet their monthly expenses.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Psychology, Sociology

(Gallup) Inflation Now Causing Hardship for Majority in U.S.

A majority of Americans, 56%, now say price increases are causing financial hardship for their household, up from 49% in January and 45% in November. The latest reading includes 12% who describe the hardship as severe and 44% as moderate.

The results are based on an Aug. 1-22 web survey that interviewed over 1,500 members of Gallup’s probability-based panel.

Although more Americans now than last fall say they are experiencing hardship, the percentage who are suffering severe hardship has held relatively steady at around 10%. Lower-income Americans are more likely than others to be experiencing severe hardship — 26% of those whose annual household income is less than $48,000 say prices are causing severe hardship for their families. That compares with 12% of middle-income Americans and 4% of upper-income Americans.

Lower-income Americans are about as likely now as last fall to say they are experiencing either severe or moderate hardship — 74%, compared with 70% in November.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Economy, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans Not Convinced that Marijuana Benefits Society

Americans are evenly split in their views about marijuana’s effect on society, with 49% considering it positive and 50% negative. They are slightly more positive about the drug’s effect on people who use it, with 53% saying it’s positive and 45% negative.

People’s own experience with marijuana is highly related to their views on both questions.

Large majorities of adults who say they have ever tried marijuana — which is nearly half of Americans — think marijuana’s effects on users (70%) and society at large (66%) are positive.
Conversely, the majority of those who have never tried marijuana think its effects are negative: 72% say this about its effect on society and 62% about its effect on users.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Sociology

(Gallup) Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low

Americans are less confident in major U.S. institutions than they were a year ago, with significant declines for 11 of the 16 institutions tested and no improvements for any. The largest declines in confidence are 11 percentage points for the Supreme Court — as reported in late June before the court issued controversial rulings on gun laws and abortion — and 15 points for the presidency, matching the 15-point drop in President Joe Biden’s job approval rating since the last confidence survey in June 2021.

Gallup first measured confidence in institutions in 1973 and has done so annually since 1993. This year’s survey was conducted June 1-20.

Confidence currently ranges from a high of 68% for small business to a low of 7% for Congress. The military is the only institution besides small business for which a majority of Americans express confidence (64%). Confidence in the police, at 45%, has fallen below the majority level for only the second time, with the other instance occurring in 2020 in the weeks after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

This year’s poll marks new lows in confidence for all three branches of the federal government — the Supreme Court (25%), the presidency (23%) and Congress. Five other institutions are at their lowest points in at least three decades of measurement, including the church or organized religion (31%), newspapers (16%), the criminal justice system (14%), big business (14%) and the police.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(LR) Half of Americans Rule Out Pentecostal Churches

Most Americans are open to a variety of denominations of Christian churches, including many people of other faiths or no faith at all.

Americans have a wide range of opinions and impressions about Christian denominations, but most won’t rule out a church based on its denomination, according to a new study from Lifeway Research. From a list of nine denominational terms— Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, and nondenominational—more Americans rule out Pentecostal than any other denomination. Just over half of Americans (51%) say a church with Pentecostal in the name is not for them.

But for each of the other denominations in the study, most Americans say a specific religious label in the name of a church is not an automatic deterrent for them. Americans are most open to nondenominational and Baptist churches.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) Americans’ Views of Government: Decades of Distrust and Dissatisfaction

Americans remain deeply distrustful of and dissatisfied with their government. Just 20% say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time – a sentiment that has changed very little since former President George W. Bush’s second term in office.

Chart shows low public trust in federal government has persisted for nearly two decades
The public’s criticisms of the federal government are many and varied. Some are familiar: Just 6% say the phrase “careful with taxpayer money” describes the federal government extremely or very well; another 21% say this describes the government somewhat well. A comparably small share (only 8%) describes the government as being responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans.

The federal government gets mixed ratings for its handling of specific issues. Evaluations are highly positive in some respects, including for responding to natural disasters (70% say the government does a good job of this) and keeping the country safe from terrorism (68%). However, only about a quarter of Americans say the government has done a good job managing the immigration system and helping people get out of poverty (24% each). And the share giving the government a positive rating for strengthening the economy has declined 17 percentage points since 2020, from 54% to 37%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Politics in General, Sociology

(PRC) AI and Human Enhancement: Americans’ Openness Is Tempered by a Range of Concerns

Developments in artificial intelligence and human enhancement technologies have the potential to remake American society in the coming decades. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans see promise in the ways these technologies could improve daily life and human abilities. Yet public views are also defined by the context of how these technologies would be used, what constraints would be in place and who would stand to benefit – or lose – if these advances become widespread.

Fundamentally, caution runs through public views of artificial intelligence (AI) and human enhancement applications, often centered around concerns about autonomy, unintended consequences and the amount of change these developments might mean for humans and society. People think economic disparities might worsen as some advances emerge and that technologies, like facial recognition software, could lead to more surveillance of Black or Hispanic Americans.

This survey looks at a broad arc of scientific and technological developments – some in use now, some still emerging. It concentrates on public views about six developments that are widely discussed among futurists, ethicists and policy advocates. Three are part of the burgeoning array of AI applications: the use of facial recognition technology by police, the use of algorithms by social media companies to find false information on their sites and the development of driverless passenger vehicles.

The other three, often described as types of human enhancements, revolve around developments tied to the convergence of AI, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other fields. They raise the possibility of dramatic changes to human abilities in the future: computer chip implants in the brain to advance people’s cognitive skills, gene editing to greatly reduce a baby’s risk of developing serious diseases or health conditions, and robotic exoskeletons with a built-in AI system to greatly increase strength for lifting in manual labor jobs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Science & Technology, Sociology

(PRC) Americans’ Trust in Scientists, Other Groups Declines

Americans’ confidence in groups and institutions has turned downward compared with just a year ago. Trust in scientists and medical scientists, once seemingly buoyed by their central role in addressing the coronavirus outbreak, is now below pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, 29% of U.S. adults say they have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public, down from 40% who said this in November 2020. Similarly, the share with a great deal of confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interests is down by 10 percentage points (from 39% to 29%), according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The new findings represent a shift in the recent trajectory of attitudes toward medical scientists and scientists. Public confidence in both groups had increased shortly after the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an April 2020 survey. Current ratings of medical scientists and scientists have now fallen below where they were in January 2019, before the emergence of the coronavirus.

Scientists and medical scientists are not the only groups and institutions to see their confidence ratings decline in the last year. The share of Americans who say they have a great deal of confidence in the military to act in the public’s best interests has fallen 14 points, from 39% in November 2020 to 25% in the current survey. And the shares of Americans with a great deal of confidence in K-12 public school principals and police officers have also decreased (by 7 and 6 points, respectively).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sociology

(Barna Group) Pastors’ Credibility Is in Question—Even Among Pastors

For a while now, Barna has been reporting on the credibility crisis America’s pastors are facing. Overall, U.S. adults are unsure whether pastors in their local community can be trusted, are in touch with their community’s needs and are reliable sources of wisdom and leadership.

Amid lukewarm feelings about their credibility, pastors may wonder how they can regain the trust of their communities in the current climate. Below, we’ll share data from The Resilient Pastor—a newly released book from pastor, author and Barna senior fellow Dr. Glenn Packiam—to explore current perspectives on the credibility of America’s pastors as well as insights from Packiam on pastoral trustworthiness and reliability.

Just Half of Americans See Pastors as a Trustworthy Source of Wisdom
Recent Barna data collected amid the pandemic show that just 57 percent of all U.S. adults agree at least somewhat that a pastor is a trustworthy source of wisdom. Christians, naturally, are far more likely to agree (31% definitely, 40% somewhat), while non-Christians tend to disagree (18% not really, 29% definitely not).

Still, many Americans—including one in five Christians—admit feeling unsure whether pastors are trustworthy (24% all adults, 21% Christians, 31% non-Christians)….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants

The Black population of the United States is diverse, growing and changing. The foreign-born segment of this population has played an important role in this growth over the past four decades and is projected to continue doing so in future years.

Roughly 4.6 million, or one-in-ten, Black people in the U.S. were born in a different country as of 2019, up from 3% in 1980. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that this number will increase to 9.5 million, or more than double the current level (the Census Bureau only offers projections for single race groups).

Between 1980 and 2019, the nation’s Black population as a whole grew by 20 million, with the Black foreign-born population accounting for 19% of this growth. In future years, the Black immigrant population will account for roughly a third of the U.S. Black population’s growth through 2060, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Black immigrant population is also projected to outpace the U.S.-born Black population in growth. While both groups are increasing in number, the foreign-born population is projected to grow by 90% between 2020 and 2060, while the U.S.-born population is expected to grow 29% over the same time span.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Immigration, Race/Race Relations, Sociology

(CT) Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches

At a time when pastors feel particularly under pressure, here’s some good news from the pews: Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches.

Most don’t think the sermons are too long; if anything, they’d like to see more in-depth teaching from leaders. They aren’t bothered by too many messages about giving. They don’t think social issues and politics play an outsized role in the teaching.

That’s according to a new survey of evangelical churchgoers in the US, the Congregational Scorecard conducted by Grey Matter Research and Consulting and Infinity Concepts.

Around three-quarters are satisfied with their congregation approach to various areas of church life and wouldn’t want it to change, the survey found.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) Is Marriage Becoming Irrelevant?

Americans are less inclined now than in recent years to see marriage as critical for couples who have children together or for couples who plan to spend the rest of their lives together. Most U.S. adults have been married at some point in their lives, but those figures are declining. Still, the vast majority of adults who have never been married remain interested in getting married someday.

Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is “very important” for couples who have children together to be married. Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006.

Another 31% of U.S. adults currently say it is “somewhat important” for couples with children to be married, bringing the total to 60% who consider it important to some degree. Meanwhile, four in 10 say it is not too (18%) or not at all (22%) important.

In 2006, Americans were more than twice as likely to say it is very important (49%) for couples with children to wed as to say it is not important (23%).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family, Sociology

(Gallup) U.S. Charitable Donations Rebound; Volunteering Still Down

Eighty-one percent of Americans say they donated money to a religious or other charitable organization in the past year, and 56% volunteered time to such an organization. After dipping in April 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, charitable donations have rebounded and are essentially back to the level measured in 2013 and 2017 surveys.

Volunteer activity also dropped in 2020 but, in contrast to charitable giving, remains lower than it was in pre-pandemic surveys. While lower today than in recent years, the rate of volunteering has been at its current level in the past, most notably during the Great Recession.

The decline in donations was seen among all income groups in 2020, but more so among those in lower- and middle-income households. Charitable donations are back up among those in all income brackets, with upper-income Americans now returning to pre-pandemic rates. Giving rates among lower- and middle-income Americans are only slightly below where they were in 2017.

Volunteer activity is also lower now among all income groups than before the pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Are Now Religiously Unaffiliated

The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing. The latest Pew Research Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds the religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago.

Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, but their share of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. In addition, the share of U.S. adults who say they pray on a daily basis has been trending downward, as has the share who say religion is “very important” in their lives.

Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. Self-identified Christians of all varieties (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Christians) make up 63% of the adult population. Christians now outnumber religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, when the Center began asking its current question about religious identity, Christians outnumbered “nones” by almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Wash. Post) More Americans say they’re not planning to have a child, new poll says, as U.S. birthrate declines

More U.S. adults who do not already have children are saying they are unlikely to ever have them, a new Pew Research Center survey finds — findings that could draw renewed attention to the risks of declining birthrates for industrialized nations.

Experts are concerned that the U.S. birthrate, which has declined for the sixth straight year, may not fuel enough population growth on its own to keep the future economy afloat and fund social programs.

Women between the ages of 18 to 49 and men between 18 and 59 who said they are not parents were asked the question, “Thinking about the future, how likely is it that you will have children someday?”

In October, 26 percent of them said it is “very likely,” a six-point drop from 2018, when 32 percent answered “very likely.” Meanwhile, the share of Americans who answered “not too likely” in 2021 grew to 21 percent, compared to 16 percent in 2018.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans More Optimistic About Pandemic’s Trajectory

Americans’ outlook for the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has improved, as the summer surge brought on by the delta variant has waned in most parts of the country. The percentage of Americans who now say the U.S. COVID-19 situation is improving has more than doubled between September and October, to 51%.

Over the same period, worry about contracting the virus has edged down four percentage points, to 36%, and concern about the availability of hospital supplies, treatment and services has tumbled 10 points, to 33%. Although the public is more optimistic about the current state of the pandemic, a majority thinks the disruption to life will continue throughout 2022 or longer than that.

These findings are from an Oct. 18-24 update of Gallup’s COVID-19 survey, which interviewed more than 4,000 members of its probability-based panel by web. Interviewing was conducted at a time when COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths were down sharply from the most recent peak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Sociology

(GR) Terry Mattingly–It’s an important political question: Are you a believer or a self-identified believer?

“All religious communities have lots of highly committed people, and all religious communities have their share of marginal members whose faith isn’t all that active,” said Green. For pollsters, the challenge is asking questions that help draw lines between “self-identified believers and those who are truly active” in their faith groups, he added.

The American Bible Society, in its “State of the Bible” surveys, has tried to document ways in which beliefs about the Bible, and personal interactions with scripture, separate “practicing Christians” from “self-identified Christians.” This matters, in part, because religious groups containing a high percentage of committed believers usually maintain their members, or even make converts, while other groups struggle to survive.

The most recent ABS survey (.pdf here) was completed last January, with data collected from 3,354 online interviews with adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The American Bible Society began studying these kinds of issues as early as 1812.

In this survey, a “practicing Christians” was defined as someone who “identifies as a Christian, attends a religious service at least once a month” and states that “faith is very important” in his or her life. Thus, said the report, practicing the faith affected their lives “in a transformative way.” Meanwhile, “self-identified Christians” were those who “simply say they believe.” According to this study, in America:

* Evangelical churches include 58% “practicing Christians” and 42% who are “self-identified.”

* Historically Black churches – evangelical, Pentecostal and “mainline” combined – are 31% “practicing” and 69% “self-identified” Christians.

* America’s more liberal “mainline” churches – many of which still contain significant numbers of evangelicals – include 28% “practicing” Christians and 72% “self-identified….”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Gallup) The Dissatisfaction of Women in the U.S. with the treatment of their gender in society hits a record low

Women in the U.S. remain largely dissatisfied with the treatment of their gender in society, do not think there is gender equality in job opportunities and favor affirmative action programs for women. Conversely, majorities of men are satisfied with the treatment of women in society and think women and men in the U.S. have equal job opportunities. However, well over half of men support affirmative action programs for women.

Overall, 53% of Americans, including 44% of women and 61% of men, are very or somewhat satisfied with the treatment of women in society. Less than half of U.S. adults (47%) and women (33%) think men and women have equal job opportunities, but 61% of men say they do. Meanwhile, affirmative action programs for women are favored by majorities of all three groups — 66% of U.S. adults, 72% of women and 61% of men.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology, Women

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Economist) Americans say their individual well-being improved in 2020

Social well-being is highest in the richest states, in the north-east and west. But there is no obvious reason why some states have improved more than others. We found no correlation with covid-19 infections, the unemployment rate, or the outcome of the 2020 election. The states with the least severe lockdowns, as measured by another index from the University of Oxford, did tend to experience the biggest increases in social well-being (see right-hand chart). But the five states enjoying the greatest improvement—Maryland, Delaware, South Dakota, Alabama, and Minnesota—do not appear to have much in common.

Although the reason may be difficult to pin down, context and technology offer some clues. Amid the grief and devastation wrought by covid-19, Americans might have been more aware of their fortunes relative to others’. Indeed, a previous Sharecare survey carried out during the depths of lockdowns in April 2020 found that over one-third of Americans said they “felt grateful”. The same survey also found that 95% of Americans were using technology to stay in touch with others. Perhaps swapping empty office chatter and obligatory social engagements for fewer but more meaningful interactions—albeit done virtually—improved overall social well-being.

Some research suggests that after collective traumatic experiences, such as natural disasters, communities experience more social cohesion. During the pandemic, divisive disagreements over health issues such as the wearing of face masks cast doubt on such a theory. But the pandemic may have made Americans seek more support from friends, prompting an improvement in social well-being.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Psychology, Sociology

(Gallup) Ratings of Black-White Relations at New Low

For the second consecutive year, U.S. adults’ positive ratings of relations between Black and White Americans are at their lowest point in more than two decades of measurement. Currently, 42% of Americans say relations between the two groups are “very” or “somewhat” good, while 57% say they are “somewhat” or “very” bad.

The most recent rating of Black-White relations in the U.S. is not statistically different from last year’s 44%. However, the reading has eroded nine percentage points over the past two years as the nation has grappled with the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests and calls for racial justice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans’ Life Ratings Reach Record High

The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Live Evaluation Index reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement and exceeding the previous high of 57.3% from September 2017. During the initial COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown, the thriving percentage plunged nearly 10 percentage points to 46.4% by late April 2020, tying the record low last measured during the Great Recession.

The most recent results, captured June 14-20, 2021, are based on 4,820 U.S. adults surveyed by web as a part of the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 120,000 adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For its Life Evaluation Index, Gallup classifies Americans as “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Those who rate their current life a 7 or higher and their anticipated life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Philip Jenkins) What if the Nones Really Do Herald the Decline of Religion?

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PD) Alexander Riley–Who Knew Émile Durkheim Was a Conservative on Sex and Marriage?

Durkheim was a trenchant critic of the contractual view of marriage, in which the relationship is said to involve only the two spouses and to depend entirely on their satisfaction with each other. In his 1906 essay “Divorce by Mutual Consent,” he criticized the liberalization of divorce that many secular intellectuals then championed. Like their counterparts today, the latter argued that it was clearly in the interests of both parents—and frequently of their children—for marriage to be dissolvable by agreement of the spouses alone. Durkheim countered that such a shift potentially harms the institution of matrimony itself.

Durkheim noted empirical evidence that divorce affects suicide rates. Marriage appeared to significantly reduce the likelihood of suicide, and in the parts of Durkheim’s France in which divorce was more common, this positive effect of marriage was weaker. Although married women were less likely to commit suicide only if their marriage had yielded children, for married men the risk was less in many scenarios. Absent an exterior regulatory force or presence, Durkheim reasoned, individual men are largely ineffective at moderating their sexual energies, and they end up emotionally distressed and dissolute. The marital institution regulates their desires. However, he went on, “Regulation from which one can withdraw whenever one has a notion is no longer regulation.” By removing the judge—the representative of society, whose authority historically extends from the religious origins of the polity—from the decision-making process of divorce, contractual marriage inevitably weakens the regulatory force of marriage.

Durkheim also insisted that marriage affects parties beyond the two spouses, most obviously their children. Children so change the marital relationship that, once they exist, they alter the marriage’s purpose. In Durkheim’s view, the couple, formerly the end of the relationship, becomes but a means to the end of the family for which they are responsible. Spouses’ obligation to their children clearly invalidates a model for divorce based merely on mutual consent.

Even the partners themselves may benefit from marriages that they would rather escape out of anger or spite. Although in a few marriages disharmony between the spouses may be so great that separation is the only reasonable path, Durkheim maintained that there are many, many more “simply mediocre marriages”—exciting and joyous only in an irregular, inconstant manner—that nonetheless produce “sufficient feeling for . . . [the] duty . . . to fulfill [one’s] function.” They thereby they provide a significant social good. This argument was almost perfectly consonant with that of the Christian conservatives of Durkheim’s day. It also scandalizes most contemporary sociologists, who have moved far from the origins of their discipline.

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Posted in France, History, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sociology

(Gallup) Seven in 10 U.S. White-Collar Workers Still Working Remotely

Before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement last week that fully vaccinated people can forgo masks in most settings, the majority of U.S. workers reported doing their jobs remotely during the pandemic, including 51% in April. But this varied widely by job type, including 72% of white-collar workers and 14% of blue-collar workers. These rates have been fairly stable since last fall, after declining from their peaks in April 2020, when most schools and non-essential businesses were shuttered.

Gallup’s remote-worker trend is based on data collected each month via web as part of its COVID-19 tracking poll, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older, using the probability-based Gallup Panel. Workers are considered remote if they report working from home at least 10% of the time in the past week.

Given the relative stability of remote work over the second half of the pandemic to date — from October 2020 to April 2021 — it is appropriate to use the combined data to analyze aspects of remote work in greater detail. On average during this period, 52% of all workers, including 72% of those in white-collar occupations and 14% in blue-collar occupations, have performed their job all or part of the time from home.

Gallup’s white-collar job category comprises occupations traditionally performed in offices or behind a computer. The blue-collar category includes jobs mainly involving manual work or physical labor. Three job areas — education, healthcare and sales — primarily involve interaction with clients or the public and are harder to categorize using the blue-collar/white-collar definitions. Their orientation to remote work is unique and is discussed below in the context of other specific occupations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Sociology