Saturday, August 13, 2005

Some Interesting Statistics

Several statistical analyses of global public opinion and social trends have been published recently. I’ll take a look at three examples that I find particularly interesting. See if you can spot the thread that runs through them.

Global views of the United States

In the Pew Global Project, 17000 people in 16 countries were asked their opinion of the United States, favorable or unfavorable. So who do you think likes us best? France? Just kidding! The country with the most favorable opinion of the US is India with 71% favorable. (Note that Israel was not polled.) The second most favorable was Poland (62%) followed by Canada (59%), Great Britain (55%) and Russia (52%). Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey are at the bottom, with 22% favorable. The Western European countries France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain averaged 42% favorable, about the same as China and Lebanon. I wonder how many times we have to save France’s bacon before they start to like us.

Even more disturbing was the 14% unfavorable rating of the US among US citizens. Bet they live mostly in New York, San Francisco, Hollywood and Detroit, the most liberal US city according to a recent poll.

Religion in the West

According to the Gallup Millennium Survey of religious attitudes, barely 20% of West Europeans attend church services at least once a week, compared with 47% of North Americans. Fewer than half of West Europeans say God is a "very important" part of their lives, as against 83% of Americans. And 15% of West Europeans deny that there is any kind of "spirit, God or life force" compared to 2% of Americans. Little more than a quarter of Britons say that they pray regularly, compared with two thirds of Americans. And barely 10% of Britons would be willing to die for our God or our beliefs, compared with 71% of Americans. The loss of faith in Western Europe over the last half century is one of the most discouraging phenomena of our times.

The day before Pope John Paul II died, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of the danger to Europe. Europe has developed a culture that … excludes God from the public conscience. Attempts to manage human affairs while disdaining God have led us to the edge of the abyss. Since the attacks on London, Britons have worried a lot about the threat to their way of life posed by Muslim extremists. How far has their own loss of religious faith turned Britain into a soft target for the fanaticism of others? (Niall Ferguson, Daily Telegraph)

American Virtue

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics violent crime in the United States is down by 55% since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71%. The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38% since 1982 while the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81%. Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28% since its peak in 1990. Fewer children are living in poverty, teenage suicide is down and elementary school test scores are rising. What’s going on?

David Brooks offers these reasons in his NY Times piece of 8/7/05. The first thing that has happened is that people stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel. The second thing is that many Americans have become better parents. Third, many people in the younger generation are reacting against the culture of divorce. Fourth, neighborhood and charitable groups have emerged to help people lead more organized lives, even in the absence of cohesive families.

I could add that churches and organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Boy and Girl Scouts are reaching out to help more youngsters. And the country is becoming more conservative and more Republican.

Western Europe: liberal, socialist, non-religious with struggling economies, rising crime rates and threats from within.

America: conservative, capitalist, religious, with a growing economy, declining crime rates and few internal threats.

It’s no wonder the 14% of Americans who don’t like us still do not leave.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the "no likers" would crawl back under the rock they crawled out from.

That goes for that woman in Crawford!!! I feel bad that she lost her son, but according to her cousin she did an about face and is exploiting her dear brave son. She has always been activist and it is tearing her family apart!

Just thought I would offer my 2 cents worth!!!!!

See you at the gym.


7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, the Poles do love us!!!!!!


7:54 PM  
Blogger SactoDan said...

Why are the liberal comments frequently either so foul they have to be deleted, personally insulting, not to mention often bigoted?

I read what I thought was a thoughtful analyis.

Is that the best Bob has to offer? My father used to say if you don't have something constructive to say, don't say it!

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I wonder how many times we have to save France’s bacon before they start to like us. "

...ah, but the more they get their bacon saved, the more they would hate us!

Actually, their main problem is their own internal muslim population right now. They're in a fight for survival and identity in their own culture without worrying about other countries.


1:32 PM  

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