Most Latinos in the United States say global climate change is a major concern, with a majority saying it affects at least part of their local community. Latinos broadly support a range of policy measures to address climate change and other environmental issues. And many say they’re willing to help with lifestyle changes, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
About eight in ten American Hispanics (81%) say tackling global climate change is either a major concern or one of many concerns that is important to them personally, with 39% saying it is a major personal concern. In comparison, a lower proportion of non-Hispanics (67%) say tackling global climate change is at least one of many important concerns, in large part due to a lower proportion who say this is a major concern (29%). In addition, a greater proportion of non-Hispanics than Hispanics say the fight against global climate change is not a major concern for them (32% versus 18%).
The Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans – in this case Latinos – view climate, energy and environmental issues. 13,749 American adults, including 2,153 Latinos, were surveyed from April 20 to 29, 2021. The survey was offered in English and Spanish. The terms “Hispanic” and “Latin” are used interchangeably throughout this article. Hispanic refers to anyone who identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Hispanics are of all races. To learn more, read “Who is Hispanic?” “
The survey was conducted on the American Trends Panel (ATP) of the Pew Research Center and included an oversample of adults aged 18 to 24 from the Ipsos Knowledge Panel. A total of 912 Generation Z adults born after 1996 were included in the sample.
Respondents to both panels are recruited using a nationwide random sample of residential addresses. This way almost all American adults have a chance to be selected. The survey is weighted to be representative of the adult American population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories. Learn more about the ATP methodology.
Here are the questions used for this report, along with the answers and its methodology.
For Hispanics, climate change is not just a distant and global concern. About seven in ten Hispanic adults (71%) say climate change is affecting at least part of their local community, a higher share than non-Hispanic adults (54%), according to the April survey of ‘American adults.
Some notable differences exist between demographic subgroups, especially among Latino supporters. The vast majority (81%) of Latino Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents say global climate change is affecting their local community, with around a third (32%) saying the impact is affecting their community a lot. In contrast, about half (52%) of Latino Republicans and skinny Republicans say global climate change is at least somewhat affecting their local community, with just 14% saying it has a big impact. Meanwhile, one in five Latin American Republican says global climate change is not affecting their community at all, a view shared by just 2% of Latino Democrats.
The opinions of Hispanic adults about the local effects of climate change also vary by birth. Among Hispanics born in another country, Puerto Rico, or another territory of the United States, about eight in ten (79%) say that global climate change greatly or partially affects their local community, while 64% of Hispanics born in all 50 states or the District of Columbia says the same thing. The share rises to 87% among foreign-born Hispanics who have been in the United States for 20 years or less, with more than a third (36%) saying global climate change is greatly affecting their community. In comparison, a quarter or less of Hispanics born in all 50 states or DC and foreign-born Hispanics who have lived in the country for 21 years or more (22% and 25%, respectively) say the same about their communities. local.
The experiences foreign-born Latinos had in the places they lived before moving to the 50 states or DC can shape their perspective on climate change. As climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent around the world, more people are leaving their homes, according to a 2018 report by the world bank. Latin America – in particular central America – has been among the main sources of climate migration in recent years. The report estimates that the region could see up to 17 million people migrating due to climate change by 2050.
More Hispanics than non-Hispanics say certain environmental issues are a big deal in their local communities. In the survey, participants were asked to rate the extent of the problem of each of the following environmental issues in their local community: too much garbage, air pollution, pollution of lakes, rivers and streams, safety of drinking water and lack of parks and green space.
The biggest differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanics were in air pollution (70% vs. 49%) and drinking water safety (56% vs. 38%). Hispanics (as well as other non-white racial and ethnic groups) are disproportionately affected by air pollution, and are less likely to have access to compliant drinking water federal health standards, according to research conducted by public health experts, climatologists and sociologists.
The survey also found that a majority (56%) of American Hispanics say the area where they live experienced an extreme weather event in the past year. California, Texas, and Florida are home to more than half of the nation’s Hispanic population, and each state’s Hispanic population grew by more than one million from 2010 to 2020. These and other states have also experienced a decline. increase of Forest fires, extreme heat, Drought and flood in recent years.
Hispanics say tackling global climate change is a priority. Overall, 75% of Hispanics say reducing the effects of global climate change must be a “top priority to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations, even if that means fewer resources to solve other important issues today.” hui ”, with 62% of non-Hispanics. say the same.
However, when asked how much they think the U.S. federal government is doing to address climate change, about two-thirds (67%) of Hispanics say the government is doing too little, a view widely shared by most. demographic subgroups.
Hispanics also express more concern than non-Hispanics about what the federal government is doing to protect the environment on a number of specific issues. For example, about two-thirds (65%) of Hispanics say the federal government is doing too little to protect air quality, compared to 57% of non-Hispanics.
Almost all Latinos (93%) say that protecting the quality of the environment for future generations is very or somewhat important to them when considering proposals to reduce the effects of global climate change. This echoes previous findings from the Pew Research Center’s national surveys of Latinos, which found that Latinos are concerned about the financial and general well-being of their children and future generations.
Hispanics are also more likely than non-Hispanics to believe that human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, contributes some or a large part to global climate change (84% vs. 76%). This includes Hispanics who are more likely to say that human activity contributes to a Great OK to climate change (52%).
Opinions of Latinos vary among certain subgroups, especially political party affiliation. Almost two-thirds (65%) of Latino Democrats say human activity is a big contributor to global climate change, compared to one in four Latin American Republican. Meanwhile, about two-thirds (66%) of foreign-born Latinos who have been in the United States for 20 years or less say human activity is a major contributor to climate change, compared to about half of Latinos born abroad. foreigners who have lived in the United States for 21 years or more; and United States-born Latinos (49% and 48%, respectively).
Many Latinos adapt their daily habits to protect the environment. Majorities say they have taken several types of actions in their daily lives to help protect the environment, ranging from reducing food waste (83%) to using less single-use plastic and less water (76% each). Additionally, a majority of Latinos say they take action: around eight in ten (82%) say they make an effort at least part of the time to live in a way that helps protect the environment, including about one in five (21%) who say they make an effort all the time.
Some Hispanics also hear encouragement to get involved in climate change efforts from those around them. About three in ten (31%) say a friend or family member encouraged them to get more involved in efforts to reduce the effects of global climate change. Many say that inspiration comes from Hispanic youth as well. Half (50%) of Hispanics say that seeing younger adults urging action on global climate change generally makes them more interested in tackling climate change themselves.
Note: Here are the questions used for this report, along with the answers and its methodology.
Lauren Mora is a research assistant specializing in race and ethnicity research at the Pew Research Center.
Marc Hugo Lopez is director of race and ethnicity research at the Pew Research Center.