Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Generation Z and Millennials Rate Climate Change Top Environmental Problem

In a 2023 Ciruli Associates survey in Orange County, wildfire was judged the top environmental threat by 51 percent of the public, with climate change third at 42 percent. Drought/water supply was rated second (49%). However, Gen Z and young Millennials (ages 18 to 29) were especially concerned about climate change (see table). More of them rated it the top county environmental threat (51%) compared to all other age cohorts and 9 points above the countywide average. They rated wildfire second (48%) and drought third (46%).

Table - Importance of Climate Change as an Environmental Problem and Age of Resident

The Pew Research organization has published the most broadly accepted breakdown of age cohorts into generations with descriptive labels. The generations chart shows Generation Z ranges from 11 to 26 years old, born after 1997. Gen Z and younger Millennials are the most diverse and liberal generation and are becoming the largest cohort, overtaking Boomers. Boomers are now over 58 years old to 77. Generation X ranges from 43 to 58.

Demographic groups rating climate change the top environmental problem, at least 5 points above the average of 42%, are people who moved to OC after 2000 (49%), Latinos (47%), and Asian (47%), self-labeled liberals (66%), and Democrats (65%).

Generations Table

The survey concerning wildfire was conducted for an association of Orange County fire agencies and conservation groups by Ciruli Associates with YouGov America. The survey of 1000 residents was fielded from July 20 to August 27, 2023. It had a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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