Contexts

understanding people in their social worlds

Trends

Using data to help readers gain a new perspective on our world.

The Vanishing Catholic Priest

Brian Conway examines the decline in vocations in Ireland and the U.S., and considers what it means for the future of international Catholicism. Read More

A 21st Century Gender Revolution

The 20th century saw women take the workplace by storm. Now, the revolution has reached higher education, as women outpace men in college graduation and continue to narrow the gap in professional degrees. Read More

Gladwell’s Big Kid Bias?

A closer look at Malcolm Gladwell’s “iron law of Canadian Hockey” reveals that birthday cut-offs in pee-wee leagues do not, in fact, predict eventual hockey stardom. The authors find that the Gladwell’s supposed bias levels out once players reach the major leagues. Read More

Not So Separate Spheres

Women’s attitudes and decisions about work-family balance belie the popular “separate spheres” notion. In reality, the majority of women work and parent simultaneously, even as workplaces continue to idealize workers who are fully (and solely) devoted to their jobs. Read More

Cheating Hearts

High profile tales of marital infidelity may give the impression that cheating is on the rise. Young people do have more flexible views on infidelity than older cohorts, but survey data reveals that attitudes toward infidelity have become more negative and rates of cheating have remained stable. Read More

Public Opinion and Health Care

Health care debates preoccupied the American political scene during the first year of Obama's presidency. Data from November 2008 anticipates what proved to be many fault lines on the road to reform. Read More

Abortion Attitudes and Availability

Forty years after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains one of the most contentious issues in American life. This article uses the murder of Dr. George Tiller to reflect on attitudes about abortion and declining access to abortion services. Read More

Golden Years? Poverty Among Older Americans

While poverty rates for older Americans have dropped overall since the advent of Social Security, elderly women of color are worse off than these numbers show. Lower lifetime earnings due to sporadic, part-time employment and discrimination in the labor market contribute to these disparities. Read More

Parlez-vous civility?

National opinion polls show that Americans are increasingly concerned about decreasing politeness in U.S. social life, pointing to causes such as partisan politics and talk radio. The author examines this trend and how some community organizations are taking steps to counteract it. Read More

The Changing Face of Black America

Caribbean and African immigrants have been on the rise in the U.S. over the past 20 years, thanks to new immigration laws in the 1980s … Read More