WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Close to two thirds of U.S. adults are concerned about global warming, with 43% worrying about it "a great deal" and 22% "a fair amount." Gallup also finds 43% of Americans believing that global warming will pose a serious threat to themselves or their way of life in their lifetime, underscoring that roughly four in 10 harbor strong concern.
|March 1-15, 2021|
|Amount personally worry about global warming|
|A great deal||43|
|A fair amount||22|
|Only a little||18|
|Not at all||17|
|Think global warming will pose serious threat in own lifetime|
|Full question wordings:
I'm going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. Global warming.
Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?
The latest results, from a March 1-15, 2021 Gallup poll, predate the hottest summer on record in the lower 48 states. However, they likely remain relevant today given that Americans' concern about global warming and perceptions of its effects in their lifetime have tended to be slow moving attitudes, with little change seen over the past five years. Prior to that, concern had increased gradually from 2011 to 2017.
Longer term, worry about global warming has run hot and cold since Gallup first asked about it in 1989.
Line graph. Trend from 1989 to 2021 in percentage of U.S. adults worried a great deal or fair amount about global warming. Trend from 1997 to 2021 in percentage of U.S. adults who believe global warming will pose a serious threat to them in their lifetime. Concern has ranged from a low of 50% in 1997 to a high of 72% in 1999. It is currently 65%, which is consistent with the level seen annually since 2016. Belief global warming will pose a serious threat increased from 25% in 1997 to 40% in 2007. It then fell to 32% in 2010 but has since gradually increased and is 43% today.
A 2017 Gallup article reviewing these trends details some of the potential reasons for shifts in the U.S. public's views on global warming, historically.
Do Americans Think Humans Are Responsible for Global Warming?
Currently, 64% of Americans believe increases in the Earth's temperature over the past century are due mainly to "the effects of pollution from human activities." The remaining third (34%) ascribe them to "natural changes in the environment that are not due to human activities."
Attitudes about the cause of global warming have been fairly flat since 2016, while from 2008 to 2015, fewer than six in 10 each year believed humans were responsible. The full trend is available on Gallup's Environment A-Z page.
Concern Varies by Demographic and Political Factors
Public concern about global warming -- the percentage worried a great deal or fair amount -- exceeds 50% among most major demographic subgroups of Americans. Republicans are the only exception, with about a third worried. Still, the level of concern varies significantly by gender, age, education, race/ethnicity and region, with women, younger adults, postgraduates, non-White adults and Eastern residents expressing greater worry than their counterparts.
The accompanying table provides these subgroup findings, as well as the percentages thinking global warming will pose a serious risk in their lifetime and the percentages ascribing global warming to human activities. The figures are based on combined data from Gallup's annual Environment surveys from 2017 through 2021, a period marked by relative stability in all three attitudes.
|Worry a great deal/Fair amount||Yes, will pose serious risk||Caused by pollution/human activities||Sample size|
|18 to 29||78||61||81||732|
|30 to 49||67||50||68||1,292|
|50 to 64||57||39||57||1,353|
|65 and older||60||26||56||1,679|
|College graduate only||65||46||70||1,290|
Gallup measures public attitudes about global warming each March as part of its Environment poll -- one of 12 surveys that make up the Gallup Poll Social Series.
Explore more Gallup articles about global warming on the Environment Topics page.
Explore Gallup questions and trends about global warming on Gallup's Topics A-Z: Environment page.