Gen Z: Like Millennials, Progressive on Climate

January 18, 2019


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Pew Social Trends:

Gen Zers’ views about climate change are virtually identical to those of Millennials and not markedly different from Gen Xers. About half in all three generations say the earth is getting warmer due to human activity. Boomers are somewhat more skeptical of this than Gen Zers or Millennials. Members of the Silent Generation are least likely to say this (38%) and are more likely to say the earth is warming mainly due to natural patterns (28%) than are Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers.

Among Republicans, Gen Z stands out from older generations as the least likely to say the earth is warming because of natural patterns – 18% say this. By comparison, 30% of Millennial, 36% of Gen X and roughly four-in-ten Boomer (42%) and Silent Generation Republicans (41%) say the same. Almost no generation gap exists among Democrats in views on this issue.


The biggest generational gap is visible in the belief that global warming will pose a serious threat in one’s own lifetime. This clearly reflects the different timeframes involved for each age group; the older one gets, the less time in one’s lifetime for global warming’s effects to be realized.

The second-largest age gap comes with the belief that global warming is caused by human activities.

Younger adults are also significantly more likely to think news reports on global warming underestimate the problem. They are more likely to worry about the problem and to believe there is a scientific consensus that global warming is occurring.

Younger and older Americans come closest in agreement in their views that the effects of global warming have already begun, and in self-reports of understanding global warming.

These figures are based on combined data from Gallup’s annual Environment polls from 2015 to 2018.

Several Factors Most Likely Drive the Age Gap

There are several potential reasons for these generational differences surrounding climate change. One, as is evident in particular on the question about global warming’s effects in one’s lifetime, results from the fact that older Americans may perceive that they will no longer be living when global warming changes the world more dramatically.

Another reason results from the relationship between age and party identification. Gallup has previously found a significant partisan divide on Americans’ attitudes concerning global warming. This partisan gap may be reflected in the trend by age group, with younger Americans tending to tilt toward the Democratic Party, and thus being more likely to adopt the Democratic position on global warming.

15 year old Swede Greta Thunberg is a Gen-Z role model for climate-concern.


22 Responses to “Gen Z: Like Millennials, Progressive on Climate”

  1. neilrieck Says:

    It’s too bad that young people DO NOT VOTE! They make “like” this or “right swipe” that but none will get off their butts to do their civic duty.

    • leslie graham Says:

      Perhaps if there was party worthy of a vote things might be different.
      As a youngster I once considered voting for the local green candidate. Until I read their manifesto.

  2. rsmurf Says:

    Fine with the polls, but I still don’t see any ACTION.

  3. redskylite Says:

    Because of the media’s reluctance to cover climate change (especially in the past), we must rely on educators. Bearing in mind youngsters are less likely to notice the climatic changes, that are obvious to me at 70 years old. Education has a huge part to play in our future, and must overcome doubters, deniers and the evil Heartland organization and the like. Thankfully most teachers care about their charge’s future, despite the ignorance, politics and finance around the subject.

    “A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction in climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school.”

  4. redskylite Says:

    Young in revolt. . .

    Thousands of young people from schools and universities around Switzerland went on strike on Friday to demand greater action to combat climate change.

  5. Donald Osborn Says:

    Gee, slightly over half of Millennials and Gen Xers actually believe the clear and well documented (actual) SCIENCE!!! Oh, I feel much better now …

  6. redskylite Says:

    I guess we don’t want kids running our countries do we . . .

  7. dumboldguy Says:

    Another misleading graph. Part of the problem in interpretation is that the oft-maligned “silent” generation that seems to be so ignorant of climate science is so small. The 61% that have the worst attitudes represents only 16 million people. Hardly worth worrying about.

    The 31% of the gen Y and millennials that have the worst attitudes seems smaller, but it represents 83 million people—-more than five times greater than the number of stupid silents, and maybe we should be glad they don’t vote in greater numbers—-they could hurt the climate movement if that” stupid” segment got motivated.

    Also, click on both Pew and Gallup to see more of their data. They don’t line up very well (???). It doesn’t matter much anyway at the glacial progress we’re making—-even if the kids DO come around AND vote more when they’re old enough, and the revolution DOES begin, it’s likely too late.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Oooops—–it’s *(55%)* of the gen Y and millennials that have the worst attitudes and represents 83 million people,not 31%

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Does no one ever check math here?

        I’ll try again.

        It’s *(45%)* of the gen Y and millennials that have the worst attitudes and that represents 71 million people, which is still more than 4 times as many as the “stupid silents”—–a lot of votes for climate change denial IF they voted in higher numbers.

  8. […] Gen Z: Like Millennials, Progressive on Climate […]

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