Tag Archives: respondents

More Americans agree on going green than you might think

While the United States is deeply divided on many issues, there is remarkable consensus on climate change, according to new research.

“But the American people are vastly underestimating how green the country wants to be,” says Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford University, about new findings from a poll he led on American attitudes about climate change.

“The majority doesn’t realize how many people agree with them…”

Researchers conducted the study with ABC News and Resources for the Future, a Washington, DC-based research organization. They polled a representative sample of 1,000 American adults nationwide from May 7 to June 11, 2018. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

The poll showed that Americans don’t realize how much they agree about global warming: Despite 74 percent of Americans believing the world’s temperature has been rising, respondents wrongly guessed 57 percent.

“The majority doesn’t realize how many people agree with them,” says Krosnick. “And this may have important implications for politics: If people knew how prevalent green views are in the country, they might be more inclined to demand more government action on the issue.”

Breaking the numbers down along party lines, although Republicans and Democrats differ on the issue, the poll revealed that the gap is not as large as people perceive.

For example, 57 percent of Republicans believe the world’s temperature has probably been increasing over the past 100 years, and 66 percent believe that humans either mostly or partly caused the increase. However, respondents—which included Republicans, Democrats, and independents—thought only 43 percent of the Republican base perceived that the world’s temperature was probably going up.

Respondents also underestimated Democrats’ opinions. Respondents thought 69 percent of Democrats believed global warming has probably been happening, but in reality, the proportion is much higher at 89 percent.

Steady belief in climate change

“Public belief in the existence and threat of global warming has been strikingly consistent over the last 20 years, even in the face of a current administration skeptical about climate change,” says Krosnick, who has been tracking public opinion about global warming since 1995.

“…Americans continue to send a strong signal to government about their preferences on this issue.”

To coincide with the release of the 2018 survey data, Krosnick has launched a comprehensive website with findings from surveys he has conducted over 20 years. Included are detailed graphs that show how attitudes toward climate issues and policy have trended over time.

Among the most striking findings of the new poll is that the proportion of Americans who say the issue is extremely important to them personally is at an all-time high: 20 percent (up 7 points from 2015), with 56 percent saying it’s either very important or somewhat important.

“Twenty percent of Americans might seem like a small group, but these are people who wake up every morning saying, ‘Another day, another opportunity to do something about climate change,’” Krosnick says. These people are overwhelmingly on the green side of the issue: Some 68 percent say that government should do more. “These are the folks who put pressure on government to take action, and that group has been growing.”

What policies Americans support

The researchers also asked survey participants about what climate policies they support.

Despite US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, some 81 percent of respondents believe that the country should try to cut the greenhouse gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere to meet the target in that agreement. A majority of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere today comes from carbon dioxide—which is released from burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil).

Political split on climate change isn’t so wide after all

One option to reduce greenhouse gas accumulations is to regulate those emissions through taxation.

More than two-thirds of survey respondents (67 percent) say the federal government should require companies to pay taxes for every ton of greenhouse gases they emit. In addition, some 78 percent say that a tax should be levied on oil, coal, or natural gas imported by a company from another country.

“Large majorities support some policy approaches and oppose others,” Krosnick says. “For example, the public objects to increasing taxes on gasoline and electricity designed to reduce consumption, perhaps because those taxes guarantee an increase in what consumers pay without a guarantee that emissions will actually be reduced.”

In the survey, people overwhelmingly favored renewable energy over the traditional oil industry. For example, 81 percent support tax breaks to companies that produce electricity from water, wind and solar power. Americans also see an opportunity for future employment within this sector: 69 percent say the better way for the government to encourage job creation is by developing renewable energy rather than encouraging fossil fuel use.

The researchers also found broad distrust in the traditional energy sector. For example, 78 percent believe that oil companies have not been honest about their products’ role in global warming and think the companies have tried to cover it up. Their doubt is also reflected when it comes to creating American jobs: Only 21 percent believed that protecting the traditional energy industry was the better way for job growth.

What role should courts have in fighting climate change?

“This survey is an exciting next step in our 20-year-old survey research program and documents that Americans continue to send a strong signal to government about their preferences on this issue.”

Funding for this research came from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, and Resources for the Future.

Source: Stanford University

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Air pollution in national parks may keep visitors away

Poor air quality in national parks may put a damper on visitation, according to a new study.

As reported in Science Advances, the researchers studied ozone levels in 33 of the largest national parks in the US. The researchers found that from 1990 to 2014 average ozone concentrations in national parks were statistically indistinguishable from those of the 20 largest US metropolitan areas—conditions that previously sparked federal legislation. To protect parks, the Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments of 1977 and 1990 designated national parks as Federal Class I Areas.

“The US has spent billions of dollars over the last three decades to improve air quality,” says David Keiser, assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University. “Given the popularity of national parks, as well as the fact that people go to parks to be outside, we believed it was worth better understanding air quality trends in these areas and whether people, through their actions, respond to changes in air quality in parks.”

…air quality in many national parks remains unhealthy for sensitive groups on average for two-and-one-half to three weeks per year.

The study found that ozone levels improved in metropolitan areas starting in 1990; however, national parks improvements have only been apparent since the early 2000s, corresponding to the passage of the Regional Haze Rule, a 1999 EPA regulation that strengthened air quality protections for national parks and wilderness areas.

The authors first compiled data from extensive ozone monitoring efforts led by the National Park Service and the EPA. Data show that since 1990, national parks have seen only modest reductions in days with ozone concentrations exceeding 70 parts per billion, levels deemed unhealthy by the EPA.

The researchers then matched the pollution data to monthly park visitation statistics at 33 of the most heavily visited national parks and found that visitation responds most to ozone during months with poor air quality. Unsurprisingly, this response is largest in summer and fall, the seasons when park visitation is highest.

They also explored two potential causes for this result: air quality warnings (AQI) issued by parks and poor visibility. They found that the visitation response is more strongly associated with potential health warnings and less correlated with visibility.

Does air pollution lead to more unethical behavior?

A recent survey found that nearly 90 percent of respondents had visited a national park area in their lifetime, with one-third of respondents anticipating visiting a park in the coming year. Despite improvements over the last two decades, air quality in many national parks remains unhealthy for sensitive groups on average for two-and-one-half to three weeks per year.

Indeed, despite the decrease in visitation that the authors found during months with poor air quality, an estimated 35 percent of all visitor days occurred when ozone exceeded the 55 ppb “moderate” AQI threshold, and nearly 9 percent of visitor days when ozone levels exceeded 70 ppb. Exposure to these elevated ozone levels has important health implications—visitors have an increased chance of adverse health outcomes, including hospitalization, respiratory symptoms, and mortality for sensitive individuals.

The number of park visits suggests potentially large human health benefits to further air quality improvements at national parks and elsewhere.

Coauthors of the study are from Iowa State and Cornell University.

Source: Iowa State University

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Study: shoppers are ready to shop exclusively online

The majority of shoppers are ready to shop exclusively online, according to the results of digital marketing agency Adtaxi’s 2018 Online Shopping and Technology Trends Survey. The survey took a look at the shopping habits, preferences, and behaviors of American shoppers and found that a significant number respondents said they were ready to shop exclusively online.

Additionally, the survey found that 66% of customers make an online purchase at least once a month, while 52% said they make the majority of their purchases online. Twenty-seven percent of respondents own a smart assistant such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, and 24% of them have used that device to make a purchase, but 64% said they were concerned about that smart device threatening their privacy.

“We now live in an on-demand world, where customers are beginning to favor innovations that make purchases faster, more efficient, and pain-free,” says Evan Tennant, national director of e-commerce at Adtaxi. “As this survey indicates, technologies like voice-activated devices and AR have gained traction and are on the fringe of becoming mainstream in the next few years–which we anticipate will cause a shift toward consumers shopping more heavily online.”

Update: An earlier version of this story stated that 67% of the survey’s respondents said they were ready to shop exclusively online. The survey makers have since clarified that “10% of Online Shoppers Have Already Tried AR—With 67% of Them Ready to Shop Exclusively Online,” with the 67% number applying specifically to the 10% of shoppers that have tried AI, not the survey as a whole.

Signing off: 4 reasons Mastercard says it’s killing your signature next week

Let’s take a moment of silence to mourn the death of credit card signatures—or maybe let’s not, because everyone knows those illegible lines you scribble on paper receipts are functionally useless.

Mastercard realizes it, too, which is why the company announced back in October that it would stop requiring retailers to capture signatures at checkouts in the U.S. and Canada. The change goes into effect on April 13 (or “The Day the Signature Died,” as we assume it’s known in merchant circles), and to commemorate the occasion, Mastercard shared four reasons why it says consumers are on board with the plan. The insights below come from a representative survey of 1,108 adults commissioned by Mastercard.

  • No one signs anything. Mastercard says 17% of survey respondents couldn’t remember the last time they signed anything that wasn’t a sales receipt.
  • Seriously, no one signs anything. More than half of consumers surveyed said they only sign their names a few times or less per month, not counting sales receipts.
  • Everyone hates that jerk in the checkout line. Per the survey, 72% said they get annoyed when they have to wait too long for the person in front of them to complete a transaction. (Count me in that group.)
  • Keeping the kids happy: Consumers in the 18-34 range are nearly two times more likely to dislike writing in script.

Mastercard says merchants in the U.S. and Canada can decide when to implement it. How’s now? Does now work for you?

Hey bosses, the writing is on the wall for after-hours work emails

If you’re reading this article on your own time, you have my permission to read all the way through without stopping to check your work email. Or Slack. Or your Twitter DMs. Or any other method of communication you use to connect with colleagues.

The fact is, constant connectivity is taking its toll on our personal lives (as sci-fi writer David Gerrold astutely predicted it would back in 1999), and lawmakers are starting to take notice. The New York City council, for instance, recently proposed a bill that would prohibit employees from requiring workers to answer after-work missives.

In light of what we hope is a growing movement to let workers reclaim their time Maxine Waters-style, we asked Twitter users what they think about the issue. The survey wasn’t scientific, but the results were pretty compelling: Out of 563 responses, 79% agreed it should be illegal for bosses to make employees answer after-work emails, either because they thought their staffs needed a break or because they themselves needed to disconnect. Only 6% of respondents said they expected their staffs to be online around the clock.

I’ve embedded the poll below. Feel free to retweet it at your earliest convenience. No rush.

i-1-here-are-just-5-of-apples-tactics-to-get-us-emotionally-connected-to-its-brand-686x457

Here Are Just 5 Of Apple’s Tactics To Get Us Emotionally Connected To Its Brand

Apple has one of the most potent–if not the most potent–marketing organizations in the world. We’re often responding to its influence, even when we don’t know it. It’s that effective. A new report released Wednesday by MBLM and Praxis Research Partners lays this out in an interesting way. The researchers found that Apple forms the tightest emotional connections with customers of any brand in the world. That’s based on a 2017 survey of 6,000 people in the U.S., Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. I asked MBLM and Praxis to give me the key ways in which Apple gets this done. The quotes in italics are from actual respondents.

1. Apple Weaves Its Products Into Lives, Makes Itself Indispensable

Apple ranked number 1 in the study for “ritual,” or the extent to which a brand is seen as vitally important to users’ everyday existence. The researchers said this cuts across both genders and all age groups. “Its products bring us closer to everything that is important to us in our lives today and keep us productive and engaged,” said one email to Fast Company.

“Apple brings me closer to everyone and allows me to be more productive and gets things done faster and easier”

“You NEED that iPhone, you want it, you desire it, and you depend on it.”

[Photo: Crew/Unsplash]

2. Apple Makes Products That Are Physically Close To Us

Apple products are often on or near our bodies–in our pockets, on our wrists, in our ears, or at our fingertips. Two of the company’s fastest growing products–Apple Watch and AirPods–live in physical contact with the user’s body for long periods of time during the day. You can expect Apple to produce more products like that–including augmented reality glasses. “Being tethered to an Apple product or family of products during waking hours can foster strong bonds,” the researchers said.

“Apple is always on or near me.”

[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

3. Apple Products Look Cool

Apple products are aesthetically pleasing and stylish. Its people are fussy about design, and that’s a big part of why Apple products seem aspirational and worthy of a premium price. There’s a long heritage there, too. Apple can be credited with bringing tech products from “banal beige boxes” to the design and fashion pieces that we’re used to today, the researchers point out. That mind-set governs the look and feel of every medium where the consumer comes in contact with the company–ads, physical stores, online stores, apps, everywhere.

“Apple products are stylish. They make [you] look more modern and maybe even cool.”

[Photo: Flickr user Tom Coates]

4. Apple Keeps Steve Jobs Alive

Their products are not always perfect, but they all feel like they’re driven by a human vision, not by the cold calculations of some big corporation. “Its cult of personality history with Steve Jobs gives it an indelible link with a real, authentic person,” the researchers point out.

“Historically Apple has made users feel that we are different or stood out from the crowd, we’re in it together.”

5. Apple Starts With The Customer And Works Backward

People often respond to Apple products because they seem to be built with an understanding of what the user wants to get done (sometimes even before the user does). Key functions are radically simplified on the device, and they usually “just work.” “Its products delight, it engages, and it delivers,” the researchers said.

MBLM and Praxis found that Amazon and BMW were the second and third most intimate brands in the U.S., with the Top 10 rounded out by: Jeep, Disney, YouTube, Target, Netflix, Whole Foods, and Google.

You can see the full results of the MBLM/Praxis study here.

Survey: Americans think lawmakers ignore public opinion

In an era of sharp disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, there is one thing Americans can agree on: They believe that elected officials are not paying enough attention to the general public. This finding comes from a study about how Americans think legislators should and do decide to vote.

“Americans are startlingly unhappy with Congress, and this is importantly because of what they perceive as an off-the-rails decision-making process,” says Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford University.

“When people talk about draining the swamp and corruption, they are really talking about decisions being made based on the wrong criteria.”

At a time when approval of Congress is at a historic low, Krosnick’s latest research provides a possible explanation for dissatisfaction: a public disapproval of the influences they see in policy-making.

Conducted in collaboration with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, which published the study, Krosnick and his collaborators from Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,021 American adults in 2015 and a similar sample in 2017. Despite the change to a unified government under a new president, Americans’ views of congressional decision-making did not change.

“A thoughtful, responsible legislator can consider a wide range of considerations when making voting decisions, and we set out to understand how Americans perceive that decision-making process and how Americans want that decision-making to be done,” Krosnick says.

Who influences legislators?

The researchers found that there is a perception among the American public that wealthy people, the people and organizations who helped lawmakers win their elections, the people who voted for them, and their own political parties influence them too much.

Americans surveyed believe that the most important factor that should guide representatives’ voting decisions is the general public’s wishes. Eighty percent of respondents wanted representatives to pay substantial attention to the general public when making decisions about how to vote and 57 percent ranked the opinions of the general public as meriting the most attention of any source of influence, the researchers found.

However, only 28 percent of Americans surveyed think that their representatives actually paid substantial attention to the general public’s views. Instead, 70 percent of respondents perceive that elected officials pay substantially more attention to the preferences of campaign donors and economic elites than they do to the general public.

“When people talk about draining the swamp and corruption, they are really talking about decisions being made based on the wrong criteria. I hope that if legislators choose to be more transparent about their decision-making in the future and do so more as the public wants, the country might say, ‘Washington is not as swampy as I thought,’” says Krosnick.

How to improve public perception

One of the study’s central findings is the importance of transparency in decision-making. Understanding the decision-making process is key to shaping citizens’ perception of the legitimacy of democratic institutions, says Krosnick. He found that when representatives provide appealing explanations about the rationales for their voting choices, public perceptions improve.

To test this claim, national survey respondents read various descriptions of a hypothetical US senator explaining their voting decisions. Statements confirming the senator’s focus on the general public led to more positive appraisals, whereas statements explaining voting decisions by attention to the wishes of economic elites and campaign donors led to lower evaluations of the hypothetical senator.

Book: Voters no more polarized today than pre-Reagan

Krosnick sees these findings as an opportunity to educate elected officials about how they can communicate decisions in a way that connects favorably with members of the public.

“If members of Congress want to improve their standing in the public’s eyes, they can pay close attention to the preferences of their constituents and explain the rationales for their voting decisions to those people,” says Krosnick, noting that the perception of how legislators make decisions is crucial to how much faith people have in government.

“Explaining rationales for voting decisions is evidence of the respect that the public deserves—transparency and accountability will help.”

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment funded the work.

Source: Stanford University

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Survey: Americans think lawmakers ignore public opinion

In an era of sharp disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, there is one thing Americans can agree on: They believe that elected officials are not paying enough attention to the general public. This finding comes from a study about how Americans think legislators should and do decide to vote.

“Americans are startlingly unhappy with Congress, and this is importantly because of what they perceive as an off-the-rails decision-making process,” says Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford University.

“When people talk about draining the swamp and corruption, they are really talking about decisions being made based on the wrong criteria.”

At a time when approval of Congress is at a historic low, Krosnick’s latest research provides a possible explanation for dissatisfaction: a public disapproval of the influences they see in policy-making.

Conducted in collaboration with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, which published the study, Krosnick and his collaborators from Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,021 American adults in 2015 and a similar sample in 2017. Despite the change to a unified government under a new president, Americans’ views of congressional decision-making did not change.

“A thoughtful, responsible legislator can consider a wide range of considerations when making voting decisions, and we set out to understand how Americans perceive that decision-making process and how Americans want that decision-making to be done,” Krosnick says.

Who influences legislators?

The researchers found that there is a perception among the American public that wealthy people, the people and organizations who helped lawmakers win their elections, the people who voted for them, and their own political parties influence them too much.

Americans surveyed believe that the most important factor that should guide representatives’ voting decisions is the general public’s wishes. Eighty percent of respondents wanted representatives to pay substantial attention to the general public when making decisions about how to vote and 57 percent ranked the opinions of the general public as meriting the most attention of any source of influence, the researchers found.

However, only 28 percent of Americans surveyed think that their representatives actually paid substantial attention to the general public’s views. Instead, 70 percent of respondents perceive that elected officials pay substantially more attention to the preferences of campaign donors and economic elites than they do to the general public.

“When people talk about draining the swamp and corruption, they are really talking about decisions being made based on the wrong criteria. I hope that if legislators choose to be more transparent about their decision-making in the future and do so more as the public wants, the country might say, ‘Washington is not as swampy as I thought,’” says Krosnick.

How to improve public perception

One of the study’s central findings is the importance of transparency in decision-making. Understanding the decision-making process is key to shaping citizens’ perception of the legitimacy of democratic institutions, says Krosnick. He found that when representatives provide appealing explanations about the rationales for their voting choices, public perceptions improve.

To test this claim, national survey respondents read various descriptions of a hypothetical US senator explaining their voting decisions. Statements confirming the senator’s focus on the general public led to more positive appraisals, whereas statements explaining voting decisions by attention to the wishes of economic elites and campaign donors led to lower evaluations of the hypothetical senator.

Book: Voters no more polarized today than pre-Reagan

Krosnick sees these findings as an opportunity to educate elected officials about how they can communicate decisions in a way that connects favorably with members of the public.

“If members of Congress want to improve their standing in the public’s eyes, they can pay close attention to the preferences of their constituents and explain the rationales for their voting decisions to those people,” says Krosnick, noting that the perception of how legislators make decisions is crucial to how much faith people have in government.

“Explaining rationales for voting decisions is evidence of the respect that the public deserves—transparency and accountability will help.”

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment funded the work.

Source: Stanford University

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faces_brand_wine-1

Faces on product labels appeal to lonely people

People who are lonely are more likely to buy products that have faces on the label, a new study suggests.

“Visuals can fill a void for consumers experiencing a lack of social connection,” says Bettina Cornwell, professor of marketing at the University of Oregon. “When people see faces in branding materials, their likability for that brand goes up.”

The findings, which appear in the European Journal of Social Psychology, are rooted in our fundamental need to belong and our desire to form and sustain relationships. When people lack these social connections, they often attempt to fill the void in other ways, including through what they buy.

“Seeing a face in a brand visual increases a consumer’s liking of the brand, especially if they feel lonely.”

“Previous research linked our need for social connection with consumer behavior and judgment, but very little was understood about the role that visuals play in social connection and brand likability,” says lead author Ulrich R. Orth of Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel in Germany.

“Our study builds on prior research by demonstrating that seeing a face in a brand visual increases a consumer’s liking of the brand, especially if they feel lonely.”

The face on the label doesn’t even need to be smiling, researchers say. Consumers imagine humanlike characteristics in nonhuman visuals, a process also known as anthropomorphism.

Loneliness can enhance people’s tendency to exhibit “wishful seeing” and is most apparent in the case of faces.

“A lack of interpersonal relationships motivates people to actively search for sources of connection,” Cornwell says. “Individuals who are lonely are more likely to find faces in visuals because they so greatly desire this social connection.”

faces on wine bottle labels
(Credit: T. Bettina Cornwell)

For one of the studies, researchers created a set of 18 drawings that included both non-face images and ones that clearly depicted human faces. They also developed fictitious brand names and slogans to accompany the mock advertisements. Participants were then asked to answer questions about the brand, the images, and themselves.

How loneliness makes us sick

The findings showed a significant effect on brand likability when respondents saw a face on the label. There was also a clear link between high rates of loneliness, the tendency to imagine a face in a non-face drawing, and likability of the brand.

The researchers then turned to wine bottles to dive deeper into the findings. Forty-five different labels were ranked on a scale of 1 to 7 based on how clearly a face could be detected in the brand’s imagery.

They also controlled for measures like familiarity and personal wine preference. The results mirrored those of their first study: Consumers were more likely to favor brands that used faces on their labels.

The findings could be put to good use and not just leveraged to sell products to lonely consumers. There are important public policy implications about consumer vulnerability and valuable lessons for organizations that are helping people, communities, and society, Cornwell says.

Some ads make us think products ‘sound big’

“Charities and nonprofits can extract important information from these findings that will help them serve their communities. If they choose to use a face over another image, they will be more likely to connect with individuals and share their mission with others.”

Source: University of Oregon

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Medical stats have excluded the ‘invisible infertile’

The historical omission of certain groups from medical statistics casts doubt on the quality and accuracy of infertility research.

Men, women of color, single and divorced women, and those who self-identify as LGBTQ are among the “invisible infertile,” say coauthors Liberty Barnes, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oregon, and Jasmine Fledderjohann of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

In a paper published in the journal Health Policy and Planning, they point out that the incidence of infertility among people living in high fertility areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa, is poorly assessed and often ignored. Around the world, the invisible infertile also includes racial and ethnic minorities, those with limited economic resources, those who do not have access to affordable healthcare, and persons with disabilities.

“I emailed the CDC with questions about male reproduction, and they said they couldn’t offer me any more information.”

An estimated 15 percent of couples worldwide are infertile, but that number hinges critically on the quality, inclusiveness, and availability of data sources used to track infertility, the two researchers say.

“Because these data and statistics are used for policymaking and decisions about reproductive health services, omission of these groups contributes to uneven access to state resources and health services,” the two sociologists write in the paper.

The research took root in 2004 when Barnes began studying the experiences of infertile men and sought data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

“I found lots of data on the CDC website about female reproduction but virtually nothing about men,” Barnes says. “I emailed the CDC with questions about male reproduction, and they said they couldn’t offer me any more information.”

By 2008, statistics about men dealing with infertility and using infertility services began appearing on the CDC website. Those data, Barnes discovered, were coming from the Integrated Fertility Survey Series, which began in 1955 but did not begin capturing information about men until 2002.

The first wave of the survey series excluded women of color and single and divorced women. Single childless women were excluded until 1982. Participants were presumed to be heterosexual until questions were added in the last decade to allow respondents to self-identify as LGBTQ.

“The researchers who started the series were truly pioneers in their field and the datasets are fantastic,” Barnes says. “As I looked through the sampling, I discovered that the surveys historically focused on white married women. This isn’t news to anyone who works with these datasets directly, but many demographers and social scientists who rely on statistics generated by these data do not know this.”

Researchers can’t just screen drugs for male bodies

To further explore the issue, Barnes teamed with Fledderjohann, who had similarly identified invisibility of African women’s infertility while collecting data on infertility in Ghana. Together, they wanted to show that cultural beliefs shape the design of surveys and who gets included.

In Ghana and other low and middle-income countries, surveys had been designed amid concerns of overpopulation; the surveys did not assess whether respondents had experienced infertility.

“Demographers have to work the data in creative ways to produce infertility statistics,” Barnes says.

What pigeons show us about sex bias in science

In their paper, Fledderjohann and Barnes call for a broader examination of existing data to consider who is missing and the potential implications, revising the wording and design in surveys to reduce bias, and engaging policymakers, medical professionals, and researchers in an open dialogue about the invisible infertile.

Source: University of Oregon

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