U.S. concerns about climate change by age group 2015-2018

In general, the younger U.S. generation is more concerned about climate change than the older generations. Between 2015 and 2018, 51 percent of those between 18 and 34 years of age agreed that global warming would pose a serious threat within their lifetime, while only 29 percent of those aged 55 years and older agreed with the statement. This likely reflects the different time periods that are experienced by each age group, where older generations will have less time in their lives for the effects to be realized. A larger percentage of the younger generation also believed that climate change was a very serious issue in comparison to the older generations. About 58 percent of the younger respondents believed there was a scientific consensus regarding climate change as of January 2018. The differences in the perception of climate change may also be due to the exposure and education of younger people in climate change discussions as well as the relationship between age and political ideology.

Climate and political ideology

Overall, about 53 percent of U.S. adults believe that global warming is mainly caused by human activity. However, there is a great disparity between political beliefs where 83 percent of people who identified as Liberal Democrats believe in anthropogenic climate change, in comparison to that 18 percent of identified Conservative Republicans were in agreement. This discrepancy can also be seen in politicians and their opinions on acting on climate change.

Concerns about climate change in the United States between 2015 and 2018, by age group

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Source

Release date

May 2018

Region

United States

Survey time period

2015 to 2018

Number of respondents

4,103 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

Figures are based on combined data from annual environment polls.

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