martes, 30 de mayo de 2017

Trump: Our relationship with Germany is 'very bad for U.S.'

President Donald Trump tweeted that Germany pays "FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military."

By Louis Nelson

Fresh off his first international trip as president, one in which he spent time at two meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the U.S. relationship with Germany is “very bad for U.S.” and “will change.”

Both Trump and Merkel took part in meetings of NATO and G7 leaders held last week in Brussels and Sicily, respectively. While in Brussels, Trump reportedly told European Union leaders that “the Germans are bad, very bad,” a comment that forced Gary Cohn, the director of the national economic council to explain that the president was unhappy only with the U.S-Germany trade relationship, not the longtime American ally itself.

Tuesday morning, Trump once again went after Germany in a post to Twitter that appeared online before 7 a.m.

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change,” he wrote, echoing a point he made in an address at NATO’s headquarters where he called on members of the trans-Atlantic treaty to spend more on defense.

Merkel, for her part, has emerged as perhaps the most prominent leader opposing Trump on the world stage. Known to be close with Barack Obama, Merkel met with the former U.S. president last week for a long-planned public event in Berlin on the same day that she met with Trump. And at a campaign rally over the weekend, the German chancellor said that “we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”

“The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” Merkel said. “That’s what I experienced over the past several days.”

domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017

NATO’s Image Improves on Both Sides of Atlantic

European faith in American military support largely unchanged

By Bruce Stokes
(Raigo Pajula/AFP/Getty Images)

In both North America and Europe, views of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have generally improved over the past year. Today, roughly six-in-ten Americans hold a favorable opinion of the security alliance, up from just over half in 2016, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Majority support for NATO has also strengthened in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. And after a steep decline a year ago, most French again express a favorable view of the security alliance.

Improved opinion of NATO comes on the heels of a U.S. presidential campaign in which then-candidate Donald Trump called NATO “obsolete” and raised doubts about whether the U.S. would honor its commitment to come to the defense of its NATO allies. Since taking office, President Trump has voiced support for NATO. But despite such swings in how NATO has been characterized by the current U.S. administration, most Europeans remain confident that Washington is committed to the principle of mutual defense. Asked specifically whether the U.S. would use military force to defend a NATO member if attacked by Russia, majorities in each of the countries surveyed believe they would.

Behind the overall uptick in favorable views of NATO, there are sharp political and partisan differences in how publics in member countries perceive the alliance. In the U.S., for instance, liberals (81%) are much more supportive of NATO than conservatives (48%). In fact, American liberals’ opinions of the alliance have improved 23 percentage points since 2016. Conservatives’ views are unchanged.

In several European countries, those on the ideological right are more likely than those on the left to support the alliance. In Spain, the right and left are 27 percentage points apart – 59% vs. 32% respectively. In Sweden the ideological gap is 26 points, in France 14 points, and in Germany 13 points. The share of the French right with positive views of NATO has grown 14 points in just the past year, while the opinion among the German right is up 13 points over the same period.

Despite candidate Trump’s suggestion that U.S. willingness to defend an ally might be conditional on their level of defense spending, a median of 66% in seven nations surveyed believe Washington would use military force to defend a fellow NATO partner if it was involved in a serious military conflict with Russia.

For their part, a solid majority of Americans say the U.S. should militarily defend a NATO ally if embroiled in an armed conflict with Russia. Asked about their own country’s obligation under the same scenario, more than half in the Netherlands (72%), Poland (62%), Canada (58%) and France (53%) support living up to their mutual defense commitment as a member of NATO. Just 40% of Germans back such assistance. In most countries surveyed, the more people perceive Russia as a major threat, the greater their willingness to come to a security partner’s defense.

These are among the key findings of a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted among 9,761 respondents in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom from Feb. 16 to April 10, 2017.
Views of NATO improving

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949, and it has grown from its 12 founding members to 28. Its original mission was mutual defense in the face of a military threat from what was then the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies. Today its mission is broader and includes counterterrorism and cybersecurity.

Roughly six-in-ten Americans (62%) hold a favorable view of NATO. Such sentiment has improved 9 percentage points in the last year. This represents the strongest U.S. support for the transatlantic security alliance in recent years.

But Americans’ views of NATO are partisan and have been so for some time. Since 2009 Democrats have generally voiced a more positive opinion of the transatlantic alliance than have Republicans. In 2017, 78% of Democrats expressed support for NATO, up from 58% in 2016. At the same time, Donald Trump’s criticism of NATO resonates with his political base. Less than half of Republicans (47%) hold a favorable view of the alliance. The current 31-point partisan divide over NATO compares with only a 6-point gap in 2016.

There are no significant generational or gender differences in views of NATO among Americans. But people with a college education or more (68%) are more favorably disposed toward the alliance than are people with a high school education or less (57%).

Support for the transatlantic security partnership is similar in Canada, the other North American member of NATO. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians (66%) hold NATO in high esteem. Such support has improved by 10 percentage points since 2015. This rise in support can be seen across demographic groups. Roughly three-quarters of Liberal Party (75%) and Conservative Party (74%) adherents have a positive view of the security alliance, as do about two-thirds of New Democratic Party (65%) loyalists.

In Europe, the Poles (79%) and Dutch (79%) express the strongest support for NATO among the alliance members surveyed. In 2015 such sentiment stood at 74% in Poland and 72% in the Netherlands.

Two-thirds (67%) of Germans also hold a positive opinion of the security pact. Such support is up 12 points from 2015, in part due to a sharp increase in support by women and an improvement in the alliance’s image in both eastern and western Germany. Germans who have a favorable view of the ruling Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party are particularly supportive of NATO. Those who have a favorable view of the Left Party, which wants Germany to pull out of NATO, are less likely than the general population to view the alliance favorably.

Six-in-ten people in France (60%) voice a favorable opinion of the alliance. Such backing is up 11 points from 2016 but down 11 points from 2009. Those who today have a favorable view of the centrist En Marche, President Emmanuel Macron’s new political party, and the conservative Les Republicains are particularly supportive of NATO.

A similar proportion of the British (62%) see NATO in a positive light. And such sentiment has not changed much since 2009. British who favor the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are particularly positive about NATO. And British men (67%) are more favorably disposed toward the alliance than women (56%).
Limited European willingness to come to a NATO ally’s defense

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which created NATO in 1949, commits member countries to come to the assistance of a fellow NATO member if that ally is attacked.

When presented with a scenario in which a NATO member state is attacked by Russia, roughly six-in-ten Americans (62%) are willing to use military force to come to their ally’s defense. Such support is up 6 percentage points since 2015. Men (67%) are more willing to do this than women (57%). And Americans ages 50 and older (68%) are more supportive of such action than those 18 to 29 (57%).

Today, there are no partisan differences on living up to America’s Article 5 commitment. But in 2015, the last time Pew Research Center asked this question, Republicans (69%) were far more likely than Democrats (47%) to back aiding allies in a confrontation with Russia. Since then, such Republican sentiment, now at 65%, has not changed much. Democrats’ willingness to offer military support (63%) has increased 26 points. A separate Pew Research Center survey in January 2017 also found that for the first time since 2005, more Democrats than Republicans saw Russia’s power and influence as a major threat to the U.S. And Democrats’ concern about Russia rose 30 points from 2016 to 2017.

Germany has the fourth-largest defense budget in NATO, but just 40% of Germans believe that Germany should provide military force to defend a NATO ally if it is attacked by Russia. More than half (53%) do not support such aid. There are no significant partisan differences on this issue among Germans. Opposition to providing military assistance is particularly strong among German women (62%). Men there are largely divided on the issue. Among people who live in the states that comprised the western Federal Republic of Germany, 43% think Berlin should come to the aid of a NATO ally. Just 29% of those from the eastern states that were once the German Democratic Republic agree.

In Poland, the NATO member state in the survey in the closest proximity to Russia, 62% of the public backs using military force to defend a NATO ally. Such sentiment has increased significantly since 2015, when 48% wanted their nation to come to an alliance country’s defense.

In Spain, 46% say Madrid should support a fellow NATO member in a conflict with Russia. Those who have a favorable view of the left-wing, populist party Podemos are much less likely to support helping NATO allies (37%) than those who are unfavorable towards Podemos (52%). Majorities of those who favor the other three major parties – the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the People’s Party and the Citizens’ Party – support coming to an ally’s aid.

More than half the French public supports their Article 5 obligations: 53% would come to the military assistance of a fellow NATO member, up from 47% in 2015. Older people and those on the left are now more supportive of helping an ally in a confrontation with Russia than they were in 2015.

The Dutch voice the greatest willingness among Europeans surveyed to live up to their NATO mutual defense commitment. Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) say their country should come to others’ military aid in a conflict with Russia.

About six-in-ten Canadians (58%) support using military force to help defend a NATO ally attacked by Moscow. Fully 68% of Conservative Party supporters say Ottawa should back its allies, but only 54% of New Democratic Party adherents agree.

Canadian men (63%) give significantly more backing to using military force in such a situation than do women (53%).

Public support for living up to the Article 5 commitment is generally much stronger among those who believe Russia is a major threat to their country, compared to those who say Russia poses no threat. A median of 44% of those in countries surveyed see Russia as a major threat to their nation, including 62% of Polish, 47% of Americans and Spanish, 45% of French, 44% of Dutch and 43% of British.

Seven-in-ten Americans who view Russia as a major threat support defending a NATO ally. Only 42% of those in the U.S. who say Russia is not a threat back such assistance. About half of Germans and British who call Russia a major threat to their country voice the view that their country should come to the aid of a NATO ally if it is attacked by Russia. Only about a quarter of Germans and British who say Russia is not a threat support such action.
Widespread belief U.S. would come to a NATO ally’s defense

Majorities in all the NATO member countries surveyed believe the U.S. would use military force to back up an alliance partner if it got into a serious military conflict with Russia. This includes 70% of Spanish, 69% of the Dutch, 67% of British and 65% of Canadians. Such sentiment has not changed much in the past two years.
About half of Swedes support NATO membership

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, joining the alliance has been a major topic of recent public debate in that country.

About half of Swedes support NATO membership, and such sentiment is largely unchanged from last year: 47% in 2017, 45% in 2016. Opposition to joining has also stayed about the same, with 44% opposing membership in 2016 compared to 39% in 2017. About one-in-seven Swedes (14%) voice no opinion on membership.

Swedish men (51%) are more supportive of joining the transatlantic defense community than are Swedish women (43%). Those who favor the Moderate Party and the Sweden Democrats are more likely than others to back NATO membership. Those who favor the Social Democratic Party are less likely than others to back joining the alliance.

If Data Is the New Oil, Where’s the Spot Market?

By Scott Rosemberg

For decades, data has been the fuel that powers business. But we’re still figuring out how to use this new power source efficiently, and our economic and social arrangements have not yet adapted to the changes (The Economist). As machine-learning based artificial intelligence becomes the foundation of a new kind of economy, companies have learned to hoard data. But they haven’t figured out a convenient or standardized way to trade it. In this way, it’s not like oil at all — or maybe it’s like oil was before Standard Oil standardized it.

Data isn’t a commodity, yet. That’s because we don’t know how to turn it into fungible units, and we don’t yet know how to track fluctuations in its value depending on timing and context. But this is the kind of problem that processing power and good algorithms will probably solve over time. We’re just scratching the surface of this technology’s capabilities — think PCs in 1982 or the Web in 1994.

The challenges that aren’t going to vanish with time include: How happy are we with monopoly control over different kinds of data? And how do we establish and apportion ownership rights in data? In the U.S., the monopoly question will remain theoretical as long as Republicans control government. But that won’t be forever, and the rest of the world is already at a very different place on this issue.

One line of argument that’s sure to strengthen: the case (well made by Ben Thompson) that Facebook and other dominant platforms ought to open up and share their “social graphs,” the “who is connected to whom” network data that makes their platforms so effective. It’s easy to imagine a hundred-flowers-blooming scenario for a future built around an open-sourced Facebook network map. But Facebook will fight such an outcome to the last “like.”

The other big challenge to the development of open data markets lies in transitioning away from the grand bargain that drives today’s online business, in which individuals let big platforms use their data to target ads and get free services in return. This arrangement might well come to look less attractive to users in time. We could even end up thinking, as one economist at Microsoft Research tells The Economist, that “data is labor.” That would mean that the oil reserves of the future aren’t some kind of external treasure to be claimed; instead, they’re something each of us creates every day.

French Election: The Hack That Flopped

It was a nightmare rerun: At the last minute in France’s hotly contested presidential election last week, hackers publicly dumped a stolen trove of private emails from one candidate’s campaign. As with the dirty tricks played on the Clinton campaign in the U.S. last year, iIt sure looked like an effort to aid a right-wing candidate by sabotaging an opponent. But in France, the move failed to make a difference.

There were multiple reasons for the failure of the hack (Bloomberg): It was late, it was poorly organized, there was no smoking-gun revelation in its mountains of data, and its organizers (assumed to be Russian-backed, as The Guardian reports) mixed obviously fraudulent forgeries in with the stolen data.

But the French system also used some intelligent circuit-breakers that other countries might well study. French law dictates a media blackout on campaign messages on the day before the election. Maybe there’s something to that?

France’s strength in the face of fraudulent news may also have a simpler explanation. While France’s media world is if anything even more polarized along ideological lines than the American press, the country lacks a tabloid news culture. There’s a reason Rupert Murdoch never got a foothold there. As one French editor points out to The New York Times, “We don’t have a Fox News in France.”

The Healthcare Debate Is Also About Jobs

Obamacare was, among other things, an investment in healthcare, and it has been effective, as many investments are, at creating jobs. The healthcare industry has been the engine of employment growth over the past decade. If the Republican plan to repeal and replace it with the AHCA is passed into law, we should be concerned about the risks not only to Americans’ health but also to their jobs (The New York Times).

Critics of the Obama health law argue that its rules and requirements dampened business growth. Supporters say moving tens of millions of Americans onto health insurance is worth it. Economists often talk about healthcare as if it were an abstract good, just another kind of widget. But as The Times’ Patricia Cohen reminds us, when we make choices in this realm we can’t help couching them in moral terms. We fight over who “deserves” coverage.

Supporters of the Trump plan argue that it’s reasonable to charge sick people more for health insurance. Healthy people who have “led good lives” (as one GOP congressman put it) shouldn’t subsidize smokers and the overweight. But shared risk is the basic principle behind insurance, say AHCA’s critics. If you go too far down the rabbit-hole of who “deserves” a good deal on healthcare, it gets ridiculous. You ski, I don’t. Why should my insurance dollars pay for your broken leg? We could track every choice we make every day, every morsel we eat and every risk we take, and feed it into a health-insurance-rate matrix — but is that a world we want to inhabit?

Healthcare is not a widget. It’s a basic prerequisite for individual security in a civilized society. Even Republicans have grudgingly begun to accept this principle. The argument now is simply over how to pay for it.

Cities of Influence: Talent Attraction Winners and Priorities in Europe

A recent report on talent attraction winners and priorities in Europe is the focus of this contribution by Roger Hobkinson, Director of Destination & Development Consulting at Colliers International. Learn which cities are leading in the race for talent, which are the priorities and what city brand managers can do to not be left behind.

Which European cities lead in the war for talent;
Talent attraction priorities – trends to watch out for;
Advice for city brand managers and developers on how to attract talent and business.
The race for talent accelerates

I expect many reports from around the world catch the eagle eyes of The Place Brand Observer. This was certainly the case with the report written by Colliers International’s European Research team, titled European Cities of Influence: where to find the best talent. As a global top four real estate advisor, the purpose of the report was to help our corporate clients understand which cities they might want to focus on, depending on their specific corporate objectives and requirements.

Damien Harrington, who leads our European Research group and authored the report, identified a number of variables to determine city influence over talent attraction. He placed them into four categories, with various weighting:
Cities where the economy and workforce is significant in size, but also well-suited, or oriented, towards a modern, digital age.
Cities which have the latent capacity to grow or expand their occupier base, driven by both the size of untapped, skilled talent pools and fresh talent coming through universities.
Cities where the cost of living is more affordable, where there is a higher probability of being able to save, and where both the cost of labour and real estate is low.
Cities which sit within countries where country credit, trade, regulatory and political risk are manageable; and where regulations surrounding the flexibility of labour laws are favourable to occupiers.

Twenty of Europe’s leading cities were ranked on the above categories. London and Paris lead, no surprise there, but notable successes included Manchester, Dublin and Stockholm. Whilst Madrid and Barcelona fail to build on promising foundations, Berlin, Milan and Brussels find themselves in the bottom half of the table. The report can be accessed here.

Damien outlines that the work has helped to sharpen the locational thinking of businesses:

“Some occupiers will be more focused or interested in one component over another and thus the overall weighting and scores could change according to these preferences. For example, occupiers driven by cost may see the southern European and CEE markets as more attractive than their northern and western European counterparts. Alternatively, occupiers focused on a digitally sophisticated workforce will be more tempted by Stockholm and Prague than Barcelona or Brussels.”

“London may be one of the most expensive cities from a real estate standpoint, but when taking all factors into consideration, and the ability of the city to re-invent and evolve, it is superior to all other major European cities in this study. Recent announcements at the end of 2016 by global tech giants including Apple, Google, Facebook and IBM re-affirmed their commitment to the future of the London and UK economies. Trump’s latest immigration policy could be even more reason for talent to move to London. The ability to hold on to its workforce and continue developing its talent base will be critical to ensure the UK’s capital remains a primary attractor of corporate activity.”
Talent attraction priorities

I had a good chat with Damien, who confirmed several months on from the report’s release that it stimulated considerable debate amongst Colliers’ existing and target clients. Many confirmed that attracting and retaining talent is increasingly important; especially at a time when European economies are recovering and growing, unemployment is falling and labour markets are becoming tighter.

Interestingly, different business sectors are placing different emphasis on the importance of talent. Tech companies are really at the vanguard of looking for locations with the best experience for target employees. Finance companies, on the other hand, are more concerned with having the right address and business regulations.

An overall trend is for Millennials/Generation Y to gravitate towards certain businesses. In the war for talent this is forcing “older” businesses to up their game.

My question to Damian was: yes we know about costs, critical mass of business size, labour market etc., but surely an important missing ingredient in the analysis is the “sizzle” that a place offers – the lifestyle opportunities that will attract talent and thus businesses?

As Millennials and the emerging Generation Z (born “on the Internet”) start to dominate the working population — lifestyle opportunities will be increasingly important, We both agreed that those should be captured in a future version of the Colliers “Cities of Influence” programme.

This demographic change means that cities, workplace projects and businesses will have to work harder to attract and retain talent, especially with many of them looking to move between various jobs and cities where they feel their skills, ambitions and lifestyle goals are best served.
Urban buzz

Linked to the previous point, urban buzz is another priority for talent attraction, judging by the research presented in the report. The demand from business is increasingly for office products located in dynamic, attractive city centres with an excellent urban environment, plus high quality accessibility. This also reflects the preferences of Millennials for attractive urban spaces to work, live and socialise in.

Cities that offer appealing city centre office spaces will be increasingly favoured by skilled talent. Out of town business parks will need to bring out their advantages and how they can provide an attractive solution to both businesses and talent.
It is about people, stupid

Douglas Clark, MD of Location Connections, a leading international advisor on location decision-making, gets annoyed when he sees cities or real estate projects just listing their assets. He says “So what, you have a university, modern telecoms, grants, skilled labour etc, they are things any place can offer.”

What Douglas really likes is when a city tells the stories that businesses and people have in a place. “Cities or places are still not talking about their people enough. This is for the vast majority of businesses now their number 1 requirement, so places are underselling the power of their people.”
Lifestyle and talent attraction: practice examples

We’ve worked in numerous cities and projects where we have had to be clear on a market proposition. In St. Petersburg, Florida (USA), the city is attempting a real turnaround by positioning itself as an innovative lifestyle city, moving away from its old reputation as a place to retire in.

In St. Pete they are now developing an exciting proposition with real estate and city districts, such as the emerging Pier District, to help grow its appeal to all ages, but especially to attract younger age groups and families, which is increasingly happening.

In Cork, Ireland, one of the propositions from our recent brand strategy work to help elevate Cork internationally that stuck was “Big on Life.” It expresses the fact that, for a second tier European city, Cork offers a considerable variety of lifestyle opportunities.

A second powerful value proposition for Cork was that the city had a surprising depth and critical mass in the technology sector. This message appeals to talent from not just Europe but around the world. With the city home to tech companies like Apple, EMC and Irish success stories such as Voxpro, this gives international talent the confidence to move to Cork for a job with Apple, but with the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, there are lots of other job opportunities in the city.
Don’t be left behind in the race for talent

The post-recession world is very different to the past. Across Europe, competition and collaboration between city regions is intensifying for jobs, visitors and talented people.

The single European currency, tax harmonisation, likely increased EU “control”, plus – of course – Brexit, will mean cities across Europe will have to increasingly develop strong brand and marketing strategies as part of their economic development story.

Cities like Manchester, Marseille, Gothenburg, Rotterdam and Barcelona are moving fast. These cities are investment-ready. They are seen as having their act together and realise that they are in competition for investors, developers, occupiers, tourists and talented people.

I’ve attended the worlds’ leading real estate and city marketing conference, MIPIM, held every March in Cannes. Each year an increasing number of European (and global) city regions attend. With over 20,000 investors, developers, architects, property advisors, engineers and corporate businesses in attendance, it is not surprising some 400 European and global cities attend. All promote themselves, have conversations and do deals to help bring forward development projects that house the businesses and jobs that generate jobs and wealth for their people.

Cities that don’t have such a “go to team” or don’t deliver their message internationally, or don’t play the rankings game effectively to understand what, how and when to communicate with their target markets and segments, will increasingly run the risk of being left behind in the war for talent and business.

Macron says long Trump handshake ‘not innocent’

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels

Holding onto U.S. president’s hand showed he won’t make even small concessions, French leader explains.

French President Emmanuel Macron said his extended handshake with Donald Trump before a NATO summit was “not innocent” and intended to show he did not make even small concessions.

In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday, the French leader said his interaction with the American head of state was “a moment of truth.”

“My handshake with him was not innocent,” Macron said. “We need to show that we won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, while not overhyping things either.”

In the interview, Macron went on to compare Trump’s attitude to power with that of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“Donald Trump, the Turkish president or the Russian president believe in the logic of the trial of strength, which doesn’t bother me. I don’t believe in the diplomacy of public invective, but in my bilateral dialogues, I don’t let anything pass, that is how we are respected,” he said.

What Angela Merkel meant at the Munich beer hall

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Trudering fest on Sunday in Munich.

Spoiler alert: The German chancellor didn’t just throw in the towel on the alliance with America.

Did Angela Merkel just draw a line under the Western postwar order?

In a word, Nein.

A comment by Merkel on a campaign stop in a Bavarian beer tent on Sunday sent the liberal Twittersphere into a frenzy (Edward Snowden called it “an era-defining moment.”) Merkel, mentioning both the U.S. and Brexit, told her audience it was time for Europe to “take our fate into our own hands.”

“The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” Merkel said, before adding, “That’s what I experienced over the past several days.”

The qualifiers “fully” and “some extent” weren’t unintentional; with this German chancellor, little is.

So what at first listen may sound like a major departure from Germany’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance is, in fact, consistent with Merkel’s rhetoric ever since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president. It’s also in keeping with her agenda to push European integration forward, a goal she believes the election of Emmanuel Macron as French president has put within reach. And it may signal that Merkel, for the first time in her dozen years in power and approaching her fourth election in September, sees Europe as a vote winner.

Merkel has been subtly distancing herself from Trump for months. Addressing Europe’s transatlantic ties back in January, she said: “There are no unlimited guarantees for close cooperation with us Europeans. That’s why I’m convinced that Europe and the EU will have to learn to take more responsibility in the future.”

She added that it would be “naïve” for Europe to “always depend on others to resolve problems in our neighborhood.”

While timing is everything in politics and the juxtaposition of Merkel’s comments just hours after a divisive G7 summit is notable, it would be a mistake to read too much into them.

Were Merkel to signal a German pivot away from the U.S., she would hardly choose a Bavarian beer party as the venue.

Like any good politician, Merkel knows how to play to her audience. And in Germany, a healthy dose of U.S. criticism always goes down well, especially in the age of Trump — and as an added benefit, just a few months before a national election. Recall that Gerhard Schröder used German distaste for George W. Bush and a still-to-come war in Iraq to help him to an electoral romp in 2002. And for her part, Merkel hasn’t shied from embracing a still popular America president in Germany, Barack Obama, whom she hosted in Berlin only on Thursday, the same day she met Trump in Brussels. There’s a difference between German chancellors’ views about the U.S. and the person in charge at any given time.

It’s possible that Sunday marked the beginning of a tectonic shift away from the U.S., but it’s also too early to say. Speaking on Sunday, European Council President Donald Tusk suggested the EU has little to gain from going ahead on its own — even if it wanted to.

That said, were Merkel, ever a cautious leader, to signal a German pivot away from the U.S., she would hardly choose a Bavarian beer party as the venue.

While it’s no secret that Merkel and Trump don’t see eye-to-eye on several fronts, including on climate and trade, the German leader, a long-term strategist, would no more call Germany’s relationship with the U.S. into question than she would her country’s European commitment.

For better or worse, the U.S., both in terms of trade and security, is Germany’s indispensable partner, a reality even Trump is unlikely to change any time soon. Whether on Russia, or NATO, or even the Paris climate change pact that spoiled the G7 party in Sicily, Merkel has time and again made clear that in her view, no matter who sits in the White House, Europe needs America.

martes, 23 de mayo de 2017

How Netflix Uses Analytics To Select Movies, Create Content, and Make Multimillion Dollar Decisions

In 2006 Netflix announced the Netflix Prize, a competition for creating an algorithm that would “substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences.” There was a winner, which improved the algorithm by 10%. However, Netflix never did implement the algorithm, saying:

We evaluated some of the new methods offline but the additional accuracy gains that we measured did not seem to justify the engineering effort needed to bring them into a production environment.”

But Netflix didn’t shun all algorithm and data efforts.

To the uninitiated, it may seem that Netflix’s analytics go only as far as views. They may also think that the show House of Cards was chosen because Netflix “thought subscribers might like it.” But the truth is much, much deeper. The $100 million show wasn’t green-lighted solely because it seemed like a good plot. The decision was based on a number of factors and seemingly almost entirely on data.

The reality is that Netflix is a data-driven company. Saying that Netflix chooses new content based on “whoever they can get a license with” is a very thin and vague statement. Netflix does need licenses from studios, but they don’t just pick movies and television shows at random.

Read on to learn more about the future of television programming and how analytics is helping Netflix become a better business and service.
Analytics at Netflix

The core job of analytics is to help companies gain insight into their customers. Then, the companies can optimize their marketing and deliver a better product. (Without analytics, companies are in the dark about their customers.) Analytics gives businesses the quantitative data they need to make better, more informed decisions and improve their services.

So how does Netflix use analytics?

“There are 33 million different versions of Netflix.”

– Joris Evers, Director of Global Communications

At current count, Netflix has 98.75 million worldwide streaming customers. Having this large user base allows Netflix to gather a tremendous amount of data. With this data, Netflix can make better decisions and ultimately make users happier with their service.

Traditional television networks don’t have these kinds of privileges in their broadcasting. Ratings are just approximations, green-lighting a pilot is based on tradition and intuition. Netflix has the advantage, because being an internet company allows Netflix to know their customers well, not just have a “persona” or “idea” of what their average customer is like. Let’s look at an example.

If you’re watching a series like Arrested Development, Netflix is able to see (on a large scale) the “completion rate” (for lack of a better term) of users. For example, the people at Netflix could ask themselves “How many users who started Arrested Development (from season 1) finished it to the end of season 3?” Then they get an answer. Let’s say it’s 70%.

Then they ask “Where was the common cut off point for users? What did the other 30% of users do? How big of a ‘time gap’ was there between when consumers watched one episode and when they watched the next? We need to get a good idea of the overall engagement of this show.”

They then gather this data and see user trends to understand engagement at a deep level. If Netflix saw that 70% of users watched all seasons available of a cancelled show, that may provoke some interest in restarting Arrested Development. They know there’s a good chance users will watch the new season.

But the data gets deeper than that. Here’s a look at some of the “events” Netflix tracks:
When you pause, rewind, or fast forward
What day you watch content (Netflix has found people watch TV shows during the week and movies during the weekend.)
The date you watch
What time you watch content
Where you watch (zip code)
What device you use to watch (Do you like to use your tablet for TV shows and your Roku for movies? Do people access the Just for Kids feature more on their iPads, etc.?)
When you pause and leave content (and if you ever come back)
The ratings given (about 4 million per day)
Searches (about 3 million per day)
Browsing and scrolling behavior
Netflix also looks at data within movies. They take various “screen shots” to look at “in the moment” characteristics. Netflix has confirmed they know when the credits start rolling; but there’s far more to it than just that. Some have figured these characteristics may be the volume, colors, and scenery that help Netflix find out what users like.

Why does Netflix want to know when the credits roll? They probably want to see what users do afterward. Do they leave the app or go back to browsing? Notice how Netflix now offers movie recommendations (they have personalization algorithms that aim to accurately predict what users will watch next) soon after credits start (or, for television shows, they automatically play the next episode).

Because if users leave the app after watching a show, that may mean they are more likely to cancel. Allow me to explain:

Through their analytics, Netflix may know how much content users need to watch in order to be less likely to cancel. For instance, maybe they know “If we can get each user to watch at least 15 hours of content each month, they are 75% less likely to cancel. If they drop below 5 hours, there is a 95% chance they will cancel.”

So now that they have this data, they can ask themselves “How do we help users watch at least 15 hours of content per month?” One idea: enable post-play, which automatically plays the next episode of a TV show unless the user opts out. For movies, show movie suggestions (based on the rating of the movie just watched) right after the credits start rolling and allow users to press play right from that screen. Netflix can add this feature to their web and mobile apps and, again, through analytics, see the results.

This is only a theory of how Netflix came to the decision to implement post-play and an example of how analytics can help Netflix make decisions. I don’t have any inside information.

So all of this data and the large user base allow Netflix to quickly see trends and formulate opinions. Later, we’ll get into the factors that made them green-light House of Cards.
The Recommendation Algorithm

As part of the on-boarding process, Netflix asks new users to rate their interest in movie genres and rate any movies they’ve already seen. Why do they do this right up front? Because helping users discover new movies and TV shows they’ll enjoy is integral to Netflix’s success.

If people run out of movies they want to watch and have no way to find new movies, they’ll cancel. It’s important that Netflix puts a lot of focus on making sure they have an accurate algorithm for this rather than having users rely on outside sources to find new movies.

Is the recommendation algorithm accurate and successful?

Since 75% of viewer activity is based on these suggestions, I’d say it works pretty well for them.

But now that more users are moving to streaming, what they actually watch is more important than ratings. When it was DVD-by-mail, Netflix users had to wait, and the rating was a “thought process.” Netflix engineers Xavier Amatriain and Carlos Gomez-Uribe explain:


“When we were a DVD-by-mail company and people gave us a rating, they were expressing a thought process. You added something to your queue because you wanted to watch it a few days later; there was a cost in your decision and a delayed reward. With instant streaming, you start playing something, you don’t like it, you just switch. Users don’t really perceive the benefit of giving explicit feedback, so they invest less effort.”


“Testing has shown that the predicted ratings aren’t actually super-useful, while what you’re actually playing is. We’re going from focusing exclusively on ratings and rating predictions to depending on a more complex ecosystem of algorithms.”

As we can see, the algorithm is evolving. There are entire teams (Netflix has over 800 developers in total) working on it. It’s not static because user behavior and the Netflix product are changing.

For a deeper description of the algorithm, check out this post written by the people who design and work on it.
The New Thumbs Up/Down Rating System

In April 2017, Netflix debuted a new rating system. Previously, users would rate movies and TV shows on 1-5 stars. But after their product teams ran some tests, they found a new, simpler “thumbs up-thumbs down” test beat the original star-based rating system. In their Q1 2017 Letter to Shareholders, Netflix wrote:

As always, our product team has dozens of tests running in the endless quest for even higher member satisfaction. One test that won conclusively last year and has now been rolled out to all members is our new “thumbs-up thumbs-down” feedback model, replacing the 5-star model we have had from our DVD days. The amount of usage we get with this new approach is over twice as many ratings. With this additional personal input, we’ll be able to improve personalization, making your front screen on Netflix even more relevant.
How Big Data Factored into House of Cards

In 2011 Netflix made one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make. It wasn’t anything material, but rather it was about content. They outbid top television channels like HBO and AMC to earn the rights for a U.S. version of House of Cards, giving them 2 seasons with 13 episodes in each season.

At a cost of $4 million to $6 million an episode, this 2-season price tag is over $100 million. Netflix has undoubtedly made other big money investments before (shipping centers, postage costs, etc.), but nothing like this on the content side. So why did they make such a big bet, and how did analytics factor into the decision? Let’s get into it.

Before green-lighting House of Cards, Netflix knew:
A lot of users watched the David Fincher directed movie The Social Network from beginning to end.
The British version of “House of Cards” has been well watched.
Those who watched the British version “House of Cards” also watched Kevin Spacey films and/or films directed by David Fincher.

Each of these 3 synergistic factors had to contain a certain volume of users. Otherwise, House of Cards might belong to a different network right now. Netflix had a lot of users in all 3 factors.

This combination of factors had a lot of weight in Netflix’s decision to make the $100 million investment in creating a U.S. version of House of Cards. Jonathan Friedland, Chief Communications Officer, says “Because we have a direct relationship with consumers, we know what people like to watch and that helps us understand how big the interest is going to be for a given show. It gave us some confidence that we could find an audience for a show like House of Cards.”

In an interview with Gigaom, Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications, expands:

“We have a high degree of confidence in [House of Cards] based on the director, the producer and the stars…. We don’t have to spend millions to get people to tune into this. Through our algorithms, we can determine who might be interested in Kevin Spacey or political drama and say to them ‘You might want to watch this.’”

Swasey says it’s not just the cast and director that predict whether the show will be a success. “We can look at consumer data and see what the appeal is for the director, for the stars, and for similar dramas,” he says. Add this to the fact that the British version of House of Cards has been a popular DVD pick for subscribers. Combining these factors (and the popularity of political thrillers) makes it seem like an easy decision for Netflix to make. The only question was how much they were willing to invest. We’ll get into the early ROI numbers a little later.
After the Green Light

Now that Netflix has made the $100 million investment, they are in part responsible for promoting it. And with the data they have, they can make a “personalized trailer” for each type of Netflix member, not a “one size fits all” trailer. Let me explain…

Before a movie is released or TV show premiers, there’s typically one or a few trailers made and a few previews selected. Netflix made 10 different cuts of the trailer for House of Cards, each geared toward different audiences. The trailer you saw was based on your previous viewing behavior. If you watched a lot of Kevin Spacey films, you saw a trailer featuring him. Those who watched a lot of movies starring females saw a trailer featuring the women in the show. And David Fincher fans saw a trailer featuring his touch.

So now that the first season has run, let’s look at some of the early metrics. These won’t determine immediately whether the House of Cards investment can be considered successful, but rather the trajectory that it’s on.

What do you think the average success rate is for new TV shows? In other words, if a television network green lights a new TV show, what are the chances it will be profitable or won’t be cancelled after a couple of seasons?

Your guess?

The answer is 35%, on average.

When a network green lights a show, there’s a 35% chance it succeeds and a 65% chance it gets cancelled. At the time of this writing, Netflix has 7 TV shows, of which 5 have been renewed for another season. If this rate can continue for years, the Netflix success rate will be about 70%.

So why does Netflix renew shows at a higher rate than conventional television networks? Does the data make the difference? Is the success rate legitimate or can you not compare an Internet television network to conventional TV networks?

Has House of Cards been a success? It has brought in 2 million new U.S. subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, which was a 7% increase over the previous quarter. It also brought in 1 million new subscribers from elsewhere in the world. According to The Atlantic Wire, these 3 million subscribers almost paid Netflix back for the cost of House of Cards.

And what about current subscribers? Does having House of Cards make them less likely to cancel their subscription?

Yes, for 86% of them.

A survey showed that 86% of subscribers are less likely to cancel because of House of Cards but only if Netflix stays at the $7.99 price point. While this may seem impressive, you should take this survey with a grain of salt. As the author points out:

“The sample size is small. Only 346 of the 1,229 U.S. consumers surveyed on February 12-13, 2013 are Netflix customers, although another 223 are classified as non-subscribers who have access to a Netflix subscription. About 10% of subscribers and those with access to Netflix viewed at least one episode of House Of Cards in the first 12 days after it became available. The average person who tuned in watched six episodes over that period, but 19.4% watched all 13.”

What can be safe to say is that House of Cards gives all Netflix subscribers one less reason to cancel. How big or how small the reason is arbitrary.
Orange is the New Black

Weeds was a pretty popular show on Showtime. It also has been streaming on Netflix for quite some time and has been one of their most viewed shows, according to their “Popular on Netflix” section. So when creator Jenji Kohan had the idea for a new TV show, Netflix knew they had to jump in. To be able to get a series with the popularity and quality of Weeds would be a big hit, especially in a lineup next to House of Cards. Early metrics show that Orange is the New Black is getting off to a more successful start than Arrested Development and even House of Cards.

In the next section we’ll take a step back and look at the big picture of how analytics is helping Netflix.
How Netflix Decides on Movies to License

By now, you probably can guess that Netflix doesn’t blindly pick which movies to stream. Licensing movies from studios is expensive, so Netflix uses data to help them decide. There are only a limited number of movies to license. For example, a popular new release may not be available immediately, but a year later it might be. There is a vast number of movies available for Netflix to pick from, just not every movie available. So Netflix has to find which ones its users will enjoy the most.

As John Ciancutti, former VP of Product Engineering (now at Facebook), says:

Netflix seeks the most efficient content. Efficient here meaning content that will achieve the maximum happiness per dollar spent. There are various complicated metrics used, but what they are intended to measure is happiness among Netflix members. How much would it go up if Netflix licenses, say, Mad Men vs. Sons of Anarchy?”

Jenny McCabe, Director of Global Media Relations, puts it another way:

“We look for those titles that deliver the biggest viewership relative to the licensing cost. This also means that we’ll forgo or choose not to renew some titles that aren’t watched enough relative to their cost.

We always use our in depth knowledge (aka analytics and data) about what our members love to watch to decide what’s available on Netflix….If you keep watching, we’ll keep adding more of what you love.”

There you have it… That last sentence tells it all. They need to know what people watch and what people like in order to decide on new titles. If no one watched anything, they’d be in the dark. Now you can see that their analytics is a big help in deciding what movies and TV shows to select. They are not, as McCabe put it, a “broad distributor,” possibly stating a differentiation from Hulu.

At a $7.99 per month per member pricing plan, Netflix cannot afford to add every box office hit. They need to be smart about their decisions and take full advantage of their analytics. Being cost efficient and making users happy is a skill that is central to Netflix’s success. Let’s use an example of how they might combine smart economics while also maximizing user happiness.

The Dark Knight was an extraordinarily popular movie, netting over $1 billion at the box office. Netflix knew that its users would enjoy it if they streamed it, but the studio wanted a very high price for it. Netflix could pay the rights to stream it for a few months, or they could get 6 other quality movies that they knew users would like. So what do they do? What brings the highest happiness per dollar?

In other words, instead of getting The Dark Knight, they could get other movies with the same actors and director. They could add Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan), Brokeback Mountain and A Knight’s Tale (starring Heath Ledger), Thank You for Smoking (starring Aaron Eckhart), Stranger than Fiction (starring Maggie Gyllenhaal), and The Machinist (starring Christian Bale) for (or near) the price of one license to The Dark Knight. What route would you choose?

Again, this is just a hypothetical, but it’s probably safe to say that this is a common situation Netflix faces. Let’s look at another example.

Parks and Recreation is popular for Netflix and has good metrics (people watch the entire show, re-watch some episodes, and frequently rewind certain parts). One of the actors is Adam Scott (maybe some users rewind scenes with him in it), and they have the option to add a few cost-efficient movies with him. Do they do it? At the time of this writing, they do. There are 7 Adam Scott movies available to stream instantly, one an independent film where he is a main character.

Along with these tactics, Netflix also studies piracy sites to help them decide what content to purchase. One show they picked up as a result is Prison Break, which has been heavily pirated.
Use Analytics Directionally

When asked to name the 3 things he learned form Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe said focus, analytics, and pour money into the things that are working best.

When discussing analytics, he says:

“He taught me how to use analytics to make decisions. I always thought you needed a clear answer before you made a decision and the thing that he taught me was [that] you’ve got to use analytics directionally…and never worry whether they are 100% sure. Just try to get them to point you in the right direction.”

When pressed to give an example, Lowe says:

“We couldn’t figure out what our core demographic was (this was in the early 2000’s) of our users and so we would spend bunches of time surveying our customers trying to figure out, you know, do they sit into the 18-24 year old group and 24-35, etc. And the numbers were all over the place. But if you averaged them all out, it was clear that our customer was higher income, older, and more educated. But there was still big segments of younger people and [Hastings] said “listen, just go with where this is telling you directionally our customers are.” And it really paid off. When we started targeting places where those customers with that demographic hung out, and this got to our annoying pop up ads that we used to inundate the web with. Then our customer acquisition just went straight up.”

Now, let’s take a step back, look at the big picture, and see Netflix’s aspiring goal.
Netflix’s Goal to Become the HBO of Internet TV

Netflix’s data and analytics are a big asset for them. It helps them build a better service for users and become a more cost efficient business by reducing waste and avoiding “shots in the dark.”

In their own words, Netflix wants “to become HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix.” They’re adding shows at a rapid pace, with the goal of adding at least 5 new shows per year according to Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer. As of February 2013, he had $6 billion available to him to choose content for Netflix streaming. This money goes to pay for licensing fees from cable companies and studios, but $300 million is for original content, according to GQ.

Some of that original content will not be just TV shows, but also exclusive documentaries and stand-up comedy specials. Comedian Aziz Ansari will debut his standup special, Buried Alive, on Netflix. It’s slated to debut November 1st. And on October 14, Netflix will debut another stand-up special and documentary series by comedian Russell Peters. If you’re interested, Wikipedia has a great page that lists out all current and future Netflix programming.

HBO has a slew of original content in addition to their licensing of movies commonly not on networks such as TNT, TBS, USA, AMC, etc. In April 2013, HBO premiered the Louis CK standup Oh My God. Clearly the HBO model has been successful for Time Warner, its owner.

As of April 2013, it has been estimated that Netflix surpassed HBO in subscribers. This means they matched their goal of “becoming HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix.”

Netflix, like HBO, has no plans to eventually be a distributor of original content only. CEO Reed Hastings has said “If we do our job right, there’s always a reason to be a Netflix member on the original side, in addition to the license side.”
In Conclusion…

Now you see how Netflix makes informed decisions based on data. Clearly, data cannot make every decision; there are some situations where intuition has to take over. For instance, data could not predict that a show like Breaking Bad would be a success. The creator was a former writer on The X-Files, and dramas are 50/50. In these cases, decisions are heavily based on the people and team behind the idea of the show. Whether Netflix can make a successful show like this (one with little to no data) is yet to be seen.

What analytics and data can do is give you insight so you can run a better business and offer a superior product. People with data have an advantage over those who run on intuition or “what feels right.”

Do you have data to help you make decisions? If not, Netflix provides a good case for why you should do so.

Let me hear your feedback in the comments.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo is the Blog Manager for Kissmetrics, you can find him on Twitter here.

Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia

One-in-six newlyweds are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity

By Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown


In 2015, 17% of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.2 In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Loving v. Virginia case ruled that marriage across racial lines was legal throughout the country. Until this ruling, interracial marriages were forbidden in many states.

More broadly, one-in-ten married people in 2015 – not just those who recently married – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. This translates into 11 million people who were intermarried. The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families.

The most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds. Since 1980, the share who married someone of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled from 5% to 18%. White newlyweds, too, have experienced a rapid increase in intermarriage, with rates rising from 4% to 11%. However, despite this increase, they remain the least likely of all major racial or ethnic groups to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity.

Asian and Hispanic newlyweds are by far the most likely to intermarry in the U.S. About three-in-ten Asian newlyweds3 (29%) did so in 2015, and the share was 27% among recently married Hispanics. For these groups, intermarriage is even more prevalent among the U.S. born: 39% of U.S.-born Hispanic newlyweds and almost half (46%) of U.S.-born Asian newlyweds have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.
For blacks and Asians, stark gender differences in intermarriage

Among blacks, intermarriage is twice as prevalent for male newlyweds as it is for their female counterparts. While about one-fourth of recently married black men (24%) have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, this share is 12% among recently married black women.

There are dramatic gender differences among Asian newlyweds as well, though they run in the opposite direction – Asian women are far more likely to intermarry than their male counterparts. In 2015, just over one-third (36%) of newlywed Asian women had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 21% of newlywed Asian men.

In contrast, among white and Hispanic newlyweds, the shares who intermarry are similar for men and women. Some 12% of recently married white men and 10% of white women have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, and among Hispanics, 26% of newly married men and 28% of women do.
A more diverse population and shifting attitudes are contributing to the rise of intermarriage

The rapid increases in intermarriage rates for recently married whites and blacks have played an important role in driving up the overall rate of intermarriage in the U.S. However, the growing share of the population that is Asian or Hispanic, combined with these groups’ high rates of intermarriage, is further boosting U.S. intermarriage overall. Among all newlyweds, the share who are Hispanic has risen by 9 percentage points since 1980, and the share who are Asian has risen 4 points. Meanwhile, the share of newlyweds who are white has dropped by 15 points.

Attitudes about intermarriage are changing as well. In just seven years, the share of adults saying that the growing number of people marrying someone of a different race is good for society has risen 15 points, to 39%, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 28-March 12, 2017.

The decline in opposition to intermarriage in the longer term has been even more dramatic, a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the General Social Survey has found. In 1990, 63% of nonblack adults surveyed said they would be very or somewhat opposed to a close relative marrying a black person; today the figure stands at 14%. Opposition to a close relative entering into an intermarriage with a spouse who is Hispanic or Asian has also declined markedly since 2000, when data regarding those groups first became available. The share of nonwhites saying they would oppose having a family member marry a white person has edged downward as well.
Intermarriage somewhat more common among the college educated

In 1980, the rate of intermarriage did not differ markedly by educational attainment among newlyweds. Since that time, however, a modest intermarriage gap has emerged. In 2015, 14% of newlyweds with a high school diploma or less were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 18% of those with some college and 19% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more.

The educational gap is most striking among Hispanics: While almost half (46%) of Hispanic newlyweds with a bachelor’s degree were intermarried in 2015, this share drops to 16% for those with a high school diploma or less – a pattern driven partially, but not entirely, by the higher share of immigrants among the less educated. Intermarriage is also slightly more common among black newlyweds with a bachelor’s degree (21%) than those with some college (17%) or a high school diploma or less (15%).

Among recently married Asians, however, the pattern is different – intermarriage is far more common among those with some college (39%) than those with either more education (29%) or less education (26%). Among white newlyweds, intermarriage rates are similar regardless of educational attainment.
Other key findings
The most common racial or ethnic pairing among newlywed intermarried couples is one Hispanic and one white spouse (42%). Next most common are one white and one Asian spouse (15%) and one white and one multiracial spouse (12%).
Newlyweds living in metropolitan areas are more likely to be intermarried than those in non-metropolitan areas (18% vs. 11%). This pattern is driven entirely by whites; Hispanics and Asians are more likely to intermarry if they live in non-metro areas. The rates do not vary by place of residence for blacks.
Among black newlyweds, the gender gap in intermarriage increases with education: For those with a high school diploma or less, 17% of men vs. 10% of women are intermarried, while among those with a bachelor’s degree, black men are more than twice as likely as black women to intermarry (30% vs. 13%).
Among newlyweds, intermarriage is most common for those in their 30s (18%). Even so, 13% of newlyweds ages 50 and older are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity.
There is a sharp partisan divide in attitudes about interracial marriage. Roughly half (49%) of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party say the growing number of people of different races marrying each other is a good thing for society. Only 28% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents share that view.

1. Trends and patterns in intermarriage

By Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown

In 1967, when miscegenation laws were overturned in the United States, 3% of all newlyweds were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity. Since then, intermarriage rates have steadily climbed. By 1980, the share of intermarried newlyweds had about doubled to 7%. And by 2015 the number had risen to 17%.4

All told, more than 670,000 newlyweds in 2015 had recently entered into a marriage with someone of a different race or ethnicity. By comparison, in 1980, the first year for which detailed data are available, about 230,000 newlyweds had done so.

The long-term annual growth in newlyweds marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity has led to dramatic increases in the overall number of people who are presently intermarried – including both those who recently married and those who did so years, or even decades, earlier. In 2015, that number stood at 11 million – 10% of all married people. The share has tripled since 1980, when 3% of married people – about 3 million altogether – had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.
Intermarriage varies by race and ethnicity

Overall increases in intermarriage have been fueled in part by rising intermarriage rates among black newlyweds and among white newlyweds. The share of recently married blacks with a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled, from 5% in 1980 to 18% in 2015. Among recently married whites, rates have more than doubled, from 4% up to 11%.

At the same time, intermarriage has ticked down among recently married Asians and remained more or less stable among Hispanic newlyweds. Even though intermarriage has not been increasing for these two groups, they remain far more likely than black or white newlyweds to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity. About three-in-ten Asian newlyweds (29%) have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. The same is true of 27% of Hispanics.

For newly married Hispanics and Asians, the likelihood of intermarriage is closely related to whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad. Among the half of Hispanic newlyweds who are immigrants, 15% married a non-Hispanic. In comparison, 39% of the U.S. born did so. The pattern is similar among Asian newlyweds, three-fourths of whom are immigrants. While 24% of foreign-born Asian newlyweds have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, this share rises to 46% among the U.S. born.
The changing racial and ethnic profile of U.S. newlyweds is linked to growth in intermarriage

Significant growth in the Hispanic and Asian populations in the U.S. since 1980, coupled with the high rates of intermarriage among Hispanic and Asian newlyweds, has been an important factor driving the rise in intermarriage. Since that time, the share of all newlyweds that were Hispanic rose 9 percentage points, from 8% to 17%, and the share that were Asian grew from 2% to 6%. At the same time, the share of white newlyweds declined by 15 points and the share of black newlyweds held steady.

The size of each racial and ethnic group can also influence intermarriage rates by affecting the pool of potential marriage partners in the “marriage market,” which consists of all newlyweds and all unmarried adults combined.5 For example, whites, who comprise the largest share of the U.S. population, may be more likely to marry someone of the same race simply because most potential partners are white. And members of smaller racial or ethnic groups may be more likely to intermarry because relatively few potential partners share their race or ethnicity.

But size alone cannot totally explain intermarriage patterns. Hispanics, for instance, made up 17% of the U.S. marriage market in 2015, yet their newlywed intermarriage rates were comparable to those of Asians, who comprised only 5% of the marriage market. And while the share of the marriage market comprised of Hispanics has grown markedly since 1980, when it was 6%, their intermarriage rate has remained stable. Perhaps more striking – the share of blacks in the marriage market has remained more or less constant (15% in 1980, 16% in 2015), yet their intermarriage rate has more than tripled.
For blacks and Asians, big gender gaps in intermarriage

While there is no overall gender difference in intermarriage among newlyweds6, starkly different gender patterns emerge for some major racial and ethnic groups.

One of the most dramatic patterns occurs among black newlyweds: Black men are twice as likely as black women to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (24% vs. 12%). This gender gap has been a long-standing one – in 1980, 8% of recently married black men and 3% of their female counterparts were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity.

A significant gender gap in intermarriage is apparent among Asian newlyweds as well, though the gap runs in the opposite direction: Just over one-third (36%) of Asian newlywed women have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, while 21% of Asian newlywed men do. A substantial gender gap in intermarriage was also present in 1980, when 39% of newly married Asian women and 26% of their male counterparts were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity.

Among Asian newlyweds, these gender differences exist for both immigrants (15% men, 31% women) and the U.S. born (38% men, 54% women). While the gender gap among Asian immigrants has remained relatively stable, the gap among the U.S. born has widened substantially since 1980, when intermarriage stood at 46% among newlywed Asian men and 49% among newlywed Asian women.

Among white newlyweds, there is no notable gender gap in intermarriage – 12% of men and 10% of women had married someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015. The same was true in 1980, when 4% of recently married men and 4% of recently married women had intermarried.

As is the case among whites, intermarriage is about equally common for newlywed Hispanic men and women. In 2015, 26% of recently married Hispanic men were married to a non-Hispanic, as were 28% of their female counterparts. These intermarriage rates have changed little since 1980.
A growing educational gap in intermarriage

In 2015 the likelihood of marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity was somewhat higher among newlyweds with at least some college experience than among those with a high school diploma or less. While 14% of the less-educated group was married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, this share rose to 18% among those with some college experience and 19% among those with at least a bachelor’s degree. This marks a change from 1980, when there were virtually no educational differences in the likelihood of intermarriage among newlyweds.7

The same patterns and trends emerge when looking separately at newlywed men and women; there are no overall gender differences in intermarriage by educational attainment. In 2015, 13% of recently married men with a high school diploma or less and 14% of women with the same level of educational attainment had a spouse of another race or ethnicity, as did 19% of recently married men with some college and 18% of comparable women. Among newlyweds with a bachelor’s degree, 20% of men and 18% of women were intermarried.
Strong link between education and intermarriage for Hispanics

The association between intermarriage and educational attainment among newlyweds varies across racial and ethnic groups. For instance, among Hispanic newlyweds, higher levels of education are strongly linked with higher rates of intermarriage. While 16% of those with a high school diploma or less are married to a non-Hispanic, this share more than doubles to 35% among those with some college. And it rises to 46% for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

This pattern may be partly driven by the fact that Hispanics with low levels of education are disproportionately immigrants who are in turn less likely to intermarry. However, rates of intermarriage increase as education levels rise for both the U.S. born and the foreign born: Among immigrant Hispanic newlyweds, intermarriage rates range from 9% among those with a high school diploma or less up to 33% for those with a bachelor’s degree or more; and among the U.S. born, rates range from 32% for those with a high school diploma or less up to 56% for those with a bachelor’s degree or more.

There is no significant gender gap in intermarriage among newly married Hispanics across education levels or over time.
For blacks, intermarriage has increased most among those with no college experience

For black newlyweds, intermarriage rates are slightly higher among those with a bachelor’s degree or more (21%). Among those with some college, 17% have married someone of a different race or ethnicity, as have 15% of those with a high school diploma or less.

Intermarriage has risen dramatically at all education levels for blacks, with the biggest proportional increases occurring among those with the least education. In 1980, just 5% of black newlyweds with a high school diploma or less had intermarried – a number that has since tripled. Rates of intermarriage have more than doubled at higher education levels, from 7% among those with some college experience and 8% among those with a bachelor’s degree.

Among black newlyweds, there are distinct gender differences in intermarriage across education levels. In 2015, the rate of intermarriage varied by education only slightly among recently married black women: 10% of those with some college or less had intermarried compared with 13% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more. Meanwhile, among newly married black men, higher education is clearly associated with higher intermarriage rates. While 17% of those with a high school diploma or less had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, this share rose to 24% for those with some college and to 30% for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Asians with some college are the most likely to intermarry

While intermarriage is associated with higher education levels for Hispanics and blacks, this is not the case among Asian newlyweds. Those with some college are by far the most likely to have married someone of a different race or ethnicity – 39% in 2015 had done so, compared with about one-fourth (26%) of those with only a high school diploma or less and 29% of those with a bachelor’s degree.

This pattern reflects dramatic changes since 1980. At that time, Asians with a high school diploma or less were the most likely to intermarry; 36% did so, compared with 32% of those with some college and 25% of those with a bachelor’s degree.

Asian newlyweds with some college are somewhat less likely to be immigrants, and this may contribute to the higher rates of intermarriage for this group. However, even among recently married Asian immigrants with some college, 33% had intermarried, compared with 22% of those with a high school diploma or less and 23% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more.8

There are sizable gender gaps in intermarriage across all education levels among recently married Asians, with the biggest proportional gap occurring among those with a high school diploma or less. Newlywed Asian women in this category are more than twice as likely as their male counterparts to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (36% vs. 14%). The gaps decline somewhat at higher education levels, but even among college graduates, 36% of women are intermarried compared with 21% of men.
Among whites, little difference in intermarriage rates by education level

Among white newlyweds, the likelihood of intermarrying is fairly similar regardless of education level. One-in-ten of those with a high school diploma or less have a spouse of another race or ethnicity, as do 11% of those with some college experience and 12% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree. Rates don’t vary substantially among white newlywed men or women with some college or less, though men with a bachelor’s degree are somewhat more likely to intermarry than comparable women (14% vs. 10%).
Intermarriage is slightly less common at older ages

Nearly one-in-five newlyweds in their 30s (18%) are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, as are 16% of those in their teens or 20s and those in their 40s. Among newlyweds ages 50 and older, many of whom are likely remarrying, the share intermarried is a bit lower (13%).

The lower rate of intermarriage among older newlyweds in 2015 is largely attributable to a lower rate among women. While intermarriage rates ranged from 16% to 18% among women younger than 50, rates dropped to 12% among those 50 and older. Among recently married men, however, intermarriage did not vary substantially by age.

Intermarriage varies little by age for white and Hispanic newlyweds, but more striking patterns emerge among black and Asian newlyweds. While 22% of blacks ages 15 to 29 are intermarried, this share drops incrementally, reaching a low of 13% among those ages 50 years or older. Among Asian newlyweds, a different pattern emerges. Intermarriage rises steadily from 25% among those ages 15 to 29 years to 42% among those in their 40s. For those 50 years and older, however, the rate drops to 32%.

A closer look at intermarriage among Asian newlyweds reveals that the overall age pattern of intermarriage – with the highest rates among those in their 40s – is driven largely by the dramatic age differences in intermarriage among newly married Asian women. More than half of newlywed Asian women in their 40s intermarry (56%), compared with 42% of those in their 30s and 46% of those 50 and older. Among Asian newlywed women younger than 30, 29% are intermarried. Among recently married Asian men, the rate of intermarriage doesn’t vary as much across age groups: 26% of those in their 40s are intermarried, compared with 20% of those in their 30s and those 50 and older. Among Asian newlywed men in their teens or 20s, 18% are intermarried.

Though the overall rate of intermarriage does not differ markedly by age among white newlyweds, a gender gap emerges at older ages. While recently married white men and women younger than 40 are about equally likely to be intermarried, a 4-point gap emerges among those in their 40s (12% men, 8% women), and recently married white men ages 50 and older are about twice as likely as their female counterparts to be married to someone of a different race or ethnicity (11% vs. 6%).

A similar gender gap in intermarriage emerges at older ages for Hispanic newlyweds. However, in this case it is newly married Hispanic women ages 50 and older who are more likely to intermarry than their male counterparts (32% vs. 26%). Among black newlyweds, men are consistently more likely than women to intermarry at all ages.
In metro areas, almost one-in-five newlyweds are intermarried

Intermarriage is more common among newlyweds in the nation’s metropolitan areas, which are located in and around large urban centers, than it is in non-metro areas9, which are typically more rural. About 18% of those living in a metro area are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, compared with 11% of those living outside of a metro area. In 1980, 8% of newlyweds in metro areas were intermarried, compared with 5% of those in non-metro areas.

There are likely many reasons that intermarriage is more common in metro areas than in more rural areas. Attitudinal differences may play a role. In urban areas, 45% of adults say that more people of different races marrying each other is a good thing for society, as do 38% of those living in suburban areas (which are typically included in what the Census Bureau defines as metro areas). Among people living in rural areas, which are typically non-metro areas, fewer (24%) share this view.

Another factor is the difference in the racial and ethnic composition of each type of area. Non-metro areas have a relatively large share of white newlyweds (83% vs. 62% in metro areas), and whites are far less likely to intermarry than those of other races or ethnicities. At the same time, metro areas have larger shares of Hispanics and Asians, who have very high rates of intermarriage. While 26% of newlyweds in metro areas are Hispanic or Asian, this share is 10% for newlyweds in non-metro areas.

The link between place of residence and intermarriage varies dramatically for different racial and ethnic groups. The increased racial and ethnic diversity of metro areas means that the supply of potential spouses, too, will likely be more diverse. This fact may contribute to the higher rates of intermarriage for white metro area newlyweds, since the marriage market includes a relatively larger share of people who are nonwhite. Indeed, recently married whites are the only major group for which intermarriage is higher in metro areas. White newlyweds in metro areas are twice as likely as those in non-metro areas to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (12% vs. 6%).

In contrast, for Asians, the likelihood of intermarrying is higher in non-metro areas (47%) than metro areas (28%), due in part to the fact that the share of Asians in the marriage market is lower in non-metro areas. The same holds true among Hispanics. About one-third (32%) of Hispanic newlyweds in non-metro areas are intermarried compared with 25% in metro areas.

Among black newlyweds, intermarriage rates are identical for those living in metro and non-metro areas (18% each), even though blacks are a larger share of the marriage market in metro areas than in non-metro areas.
The largest share of intermarried couples include one Hispanic and one white spouse

While the bulk of this report focuses on patterns of intermarriage among all newly married individuals, shifting the analysis to the racial and ethnic composition of intermarried newlywed couples shows that the most prevalent form of intermarriage involves one Hispanic and one white spouse (42%). While this share is relatively high, it marks a decline from 1980, when more than half (56%) of all intermarried couples included one Hispanic and one white person.

The next most prevalent couple type in 2015 among those who were intermarried included one Asian and one white spouse (15%). Couples including one black and one white spouse accounted for about one-in-ten (11%) intermarried couples in 2015, a share that has held more or less steady since 1980.

That intermarriage patterns vary by gender becomes apparent when looking at a more detailed profile of intermarried couples that identifies the race or ethnicity of the husband separately from the race or ethnicity of the wife. A similar share of intermarried couples involve a white man and a Hispanic woman (22%) as involve a white woman and a Hispanic man (20%).

However, more notable gender differences emerge for some of the other couple profiles. For instance, while 11% of all intermarried couples involve a white man and an Asian woman, just 4% of couples include a white woman and an Asian man. And while about 7% of intermarried couples include a black man and a white woman, only 3% include a black woman and a white man.

2. Public views on intermarriage

By Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown

As intermarriage grows more prevalent in the United States, the public has become more accepting of it. A growing share of adults say that the trend toward more people of different races marrying each other is generally a good thing for American society.10 At the same time, the share saying they would oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race has fallen dramatically.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that roughly four-in-ten adults (39%) now say that more people of different races marrying each other is good for society – up significantly from 24% in 2010. The share saying this trend is a bad thing for society is down slightly over the same period, from 13% to 9%. And the share saying it doesn’t make much of a difference for society is also down, from 61% to 52%. Most of this change occurred between 2010 and 2013; opinions have remained essentially the same since then.

Attitudes about interracial marriage vary widely by age. For example, 54% of those ages 18 to 29 say that the rising prevalence of interracial marriage is good for society, compared with about a quarter of those ages 65 and older (26%). In turn, older Americans are more likely to say that this trend doesn’t make much difference (60% of those ages 65 and older, compared with 42% of those 18 to 29) or that it is bad for society (14% vs. 5%, respectively).

Views on interracial marriage also differ by educational attainment. Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree are much more likely than those with less education to say more people of different races marrying each other is a good thing for society (54% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more vs. 39% of those with some college education and 26% of those with a high school diploma or less). Among adults with a high school diploma or less, 16% say this trend is bad for society, compared with 6% of those with some college experience and 4% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree.

Men are more likely than women to say the rising number of interracial marriages is good for society (43% vs. 34%) while women are somewhat more likely to say it’s a bad thing (12% vs. 7%). This is a change from 2010, when men and women had almost identical views. Then, about a quarter of each group (23% of men and 24% of women) said this was a good thing and 14% and 12%, respectively, said it was a bad thing.

Blacks (18%) are more likely than whites (9%) and Hispanics (3%) to say more people of different races marrying each other is generally a bad thing for society, though there are no significance differences by race or ethnicity on whether it is a good thing for society.11

Among Americans who live in urban areas, 45% say this trend is a good thing for society, as do 38% of those in the suburbs; lower shares among those living in rural areas share this view (24%). In turn, rural Americans are more likely than those in urban or suburban areas to say interracial marriage doesn’t make much difference for society (63% vs. 49% and 51%, respectively).

The view that the rise in the number of interracial marriages is good for society is particularly prevalent among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents; 49% in this group say this, compared with 28% of Republicans and those who lean Republican. The majority of Republicans (60%) say it doesn’t make much of a difference, while 12% say this trend is bad for society. Among Democrats, 45% say it doesn’t make much difference while 6% say it’s bad thing. This difference persists when controlling for race. Among whites, Democrats are still much more likely than Republicans to say more interracial marriages are a good thing for society.
Americans are now much more open to the idea of a close relative marrying someone of a different race

Just as views about the impact of interracial marriage on society have evolved, Americans’ attitudes about what is acceptable within their own family have changed. A new Pew Research Center analysis of General Social Survey (GSS) data finds that the share of U.S. adults saying they would be opposed to a close relative marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity has fallen since 2000.

In 2000, 31% of Americans said they would oppose an intermarriage in their family.12 That share dropped to 9% in 2002 but climbed again to 16% in 2008. It has fallen steadily since, and now one-in-ten Americans say they would oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity.

These modest changes over time belie much larger shifts when it comes to attitudes toward marrying people of specific races. As recently as 1990, roughly six-in-ten nonblack Americans (63%) said they would be opposed to a close relative marrying a black person. This share had been cut about in half by 2000 (at 30%), and halved again since then to stand at 14% today.13

In 2000, one-in-five non-Asian adults said they would be opposed to a close relative marrying an Asian person, and a similar share of non-Hispanic adults (21%) said the same about a family member marrying a Hispanic person. These shares have dropped to around one-in-ten for each group in 2016.

Among nonwhite adults, the share saying they would be opposed to a relative marrying a white person stood at 4% in 2016, down marginally from 7% in 2000 when the GSS first included this item.

While these views have changed substantially over time, significant demographic gaps persist. Older adults are especially likely to oppose having a family member marry someone of a different race or ethnicity. Among those ages 65 and older, about one-in-five (21%) say they would be very or somewhat opposed to an intermarriage in their family, compared with one-in-ten of those ages 50 to 64, 7% of those 30 to 49 and only 5% of those 18 to 29.

Whites (12%) and blacks (9%) are more likely than Hispanics (3%) to say they would oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity. Men are somewhat more likely than women to say this as well (13% vs. 8%).

Americans with less education are more likely to oppose an intermarriage in their family: 14% of adults with a high school diploma or less education say this, compared with 8% of those with some college education and those with a bachelor’s degree, each.

There are also large differences by political party, with Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party roughly twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they would oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race (16% vs. 7%). Controlling for race, the gap is the same: Among whites, 17% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats say they would oppose an intermarriage in their family.