Americans are more engaged in science news than in 2017

The spread of coronavirus The importance of science news and information in public life is emphasized, and there are signs that Americans are now paying more attention to science news.

A bar graph showing that about a quarter of Americans talk about science at least a few times a week

More than half (56%) of US adults talk to others about science news at least a few times a month, including a quarter (24%) who say they talk about science news at least a few times a week. The remaining 43% say they do it less, according to a December 2021 Pew Research Center survey.

The participation of science news in the daily discussion of Americans is higher than that of others 2017 Central Research44% say they talk to others about science news at least a few times a month.

The Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans engage with science news. The analysis is based on a survey conducted by the Center between November 30 and December 30 of 14,497 US adults. 12 of 2021.

Each survey participant is a member of the Central American Trend Panel (ATP) online survey team, which is randomly selected by residential address. This would make almost every adult in the United States eligible. The survey is representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, party affiliation, education, and other categories. Read more about Methodology of ATP.

Here it is questions used This analysis, along with the answer, and its methodology.

The research on which this article is based was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Online, about half of US adult social media users (48%) say they’ve viewed science content on a social platform in the past few weeks, while 33% go further and actively follow science-focused pages or accounts. news. There is also a proportion of social media users who follow accounts focused on scientific content It is higher than in 201726% said they did.

It will be science bring a wide variety of topics to mind for people like health, medicine, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. The 2021 survey found some changes in how often Americans talk about and follow the news on certain science-related topics, such as health and medicine, the coronavirus outbreak, energy and the environment. (read top line for details.)

A bar graph showing the majority of Americans interested in following news about science

Overall, three-quarters of Americans say they are interested in following news about science, according to the 2021 survey. About a quarter (27%) say yes very Another 48% say they are somewhat interested in science news. Public interest in science news exceeds interest in topics such as business, finance, sports, and entertainment, but local news is not. As predicted, those with a strong interest in science news frequently talk about science news and follow science-related information on social media among social media users.

Interest in science news has increased slightly since 2017, and the proportion of adults who are somewhat interested is at least 4 percentage points higher than in previous generations.

Education is the biggest factor in interest and interest in science news and information.

Bar graph showing that highly educated Americans are more interested in following science news

About four in ten college graduates (41%) and 35% of college graduates are interested in following science news, compared to 26% of those with some college experience and 19% of those with a high school degree or less. .

Interest in science news is higher among men than among women, and among those with lower family incomes.

Democratic-leaning Democrats and independents (33%) are more likely than Republicans and Republicans (20%) to say they are interested in following science news. The percentage of Democrats interested in following science news is 5 points higher than in 2017. Among Republicans, the share of those interested in science news increased slightly, but the share of those interested in science news was little changed. very interested.

At a time when debates about science are often polarized along partisan lines, a large percentage of Americans express dissatisfaction with the level of partisanship surrounding science news.

Bar graph showing 76% of Americans are dissatisfied with their political views on science news

About three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they feel frustrated by the amount of political disagreement in the field when following science news. This sense of frustration is shared equally by Republicans and Democrats (78% each). Separately Central research This year, partisan differences were found to be one of the main factors Americans believe contributed to the country’s struggles with the coronavirus outbreak.

Reactions to science news include positive emotions. A majority of Americans said they were surprised by the progress of science (58%), while the same number of individuals said they felt confident that knowledge is constantly being updated by following scientific news and information.

However, 57% of Americans feel somewhat confused about science news, saying they don’t know what to think because of so much conflicting information. Half of Americans think they should follow new scientific advances more than they currently do; About as many (48%) say they don’t feel that way.

College graduates and Democrats tend to respond positively to science news. Three-quarters of those with a college degree or more say they are surprised by new developments, and 73 percent say they are comforted by the fact that scientific knowledge is constantly being updated. In contrast, about half of those with some college or less education report one of these reactions. Democrats, on the other hand, are 20 percent more likely than Republicans to say they are surprised by the progress of science (68% vs. 48%), and 24% more confident that scientific knowledge is constantly being updated (70% vs. 46%).

Similar numbers of people with higher and lower levels of education say it’s hard to know what to think because there’s so much conflicting information in science news. But Republicans are more likely than Democrats (70% vs. 47%) to say they’ve had this reaction when following science news.

To understand information about science, a majority (74%) of Americans say they rely a lot (36%) or some (38%) on information from scientific experts in the field. Friends and family top the list of people they can turn to for scientific information: 55% say they can rely on close friends and family for scientific information to a greater or lesser extent. Fewer Americans (44%) say they can rely more or less on scientific information from journalists.

A bar chart showing that the majority of Americans rely on experts for scientific information

About a third of Internet users (35%) say they can rely on scientific information from online groups of people with common interests that they are a part of. Other potential sources are lower on the list of people to rely on for scientific information.

Party membership is related to journalists’ and experts’ views on the reliability of scientific information.

Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to say that they can trust journalists’ scientific reporting at least a little (63% vs. 23%). While majorities in both parties believe they can rely on experts to get information about science, Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to say so (82% vs. 66%).

These differences are consistent with the differences between Republicans and Democrats general level of trust in journalists and scientists. In contrast, when it comes to relying on other sources of scientific information, such as close friends and family, Republicans and Democrats share similar views.

Note: Here it is questions used This analysis, along with the answers, and its methodology.

Emily Sachs is a research assistant at the Pew Research Center for Science and Social Research.

Alec Tyson is the deputy director of research at the Pew Research Center.

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