Source: Pew Research Center
When Pew Research Center started the Fact Tank data blog back in 2013, our goal was to present data that would help people better understand the news of the day. But in looking at our top blog posts of 2015, we realized that the pieces we published often made news, too. From Millennials in the workforce to religion in America, our most popular posts told important stories about trends shaping our world.
Here’s a look at some of the themes of 2015’s most popular Fact Tank posts.
1. This year’s deadly attacks by radical Islamic groups sparked a hunger for information about Muslims and Islam, as evidenced by the amount of traffic reaching our posts via Web search.
Our five facts about the Muslim population in Europe answered the question: Just how large is Europe’s Muslim population, and how fast is it growing? Another post explored why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group. And ourroundup of key findings about Muslims and Islam published shortly after the Paris attacks answered key questions about Muslims and the Islamic faith.
We also dug into our international polling and found that in nations we surveyed that have significant Muslim populations, there is much disdain for ISIS – but in a few countries, such as Pakistan, favorable views were not insignificant.
2. Many of our posts looking at data through the lens of religion proved popular, too. We explored which religious groups in the U.S. were most and least racially diverse (the results were a little surprising), and we highlighted seven facts about atheists and their beliefs.
We also started keeping track of where Christian churches and other religions stand on same-sex marriage, a landscape that was often changing (we had to update this post and chart a few times). And we examined how the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage could affect religious institutions.
3. By and large, Americans don’t much like income taxes or the federal tax system as a whole. But it’s not, as you might imagine, because they think they pay too much. Rather, they feel corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share. But are they right?
We took a look at the data and found that high-income Americans pay the most in income taxes – though people can and will differ on whether it’s enough to be “fair.” As for corporations, it’s true they are funding a smaller share of overall government operations than they used to, and corporate tax receipts haven’t kept pace with the overall growth of the U.S. economy.
4. Illegal immigration has been a hot political topic in recent years. Even though Congress did little to address the issue in 2015, our post on five facts about illegal immigration resonated with readers who were looking for nonpartisan information about undocumented immigrants, from how many there are in the U.S. currently to where they come from and where they live.
And as the 2016 presidential race shifted into high gear, we looked at what Americans think should be done about illegal immigration, as well as their overall views of immigrants.
5Alexis de Tocqueville, the early 19th century French political thinker, famously described the United States as “exceptional.” And indeed, the data show that Americans stand out from the rest of the world in a few distinct ways, from our sense of individualism and our work ethic to how religious or optimistic we are, especially in comparison with other wealthy countries.