jueves, 17 de enero de 2019

Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues



Rubén Weinsteiner

Among Republicans, Gen Z stands out in views on race, climate and the role of government





No longer the new kids on the block, Millennials have moved firmly into their 20s and 30s, and a new generation is coming into focus. Generation Z – diverse and on track to be the most well-educated generation yet – is moving toward adulthood with a liberal set of attitudes and an openness to emerging social trends.

On a range of issues, from Donald Trump’s presidency to the role of government to racial equality and climate change, the views of Gen Z – those ages 13 to 21 in 2018 – mirror those of Millennials.1 In each of these realms, the two younger generations hold views that differ significantly from those of their older counterparts. In most cases, members of the Silent Generation are at the opposite end, and Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fall in between.2

It’s too early to say with certainty how the views of this new generation will evolve. Most have yet to reach voting age, and their outlook could be altered considerably by changing national conditions, world events or technological innovations. Even so, two new Pew Research Center surveys, one of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 and one of adults ages 18 and older, provide some compelling clues about where they may be headed and how their views could impact the nation’s political landscape.

Only about three-in-ten Gen Zers and Millennials (30% and 29%, respectively) approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president. This compares with 38% of Gen Xers, 43% of Boomers and 54% of Silents. Similarly, while majorities in Gen Z and the Millennial generation say government should do more to solve problems, rather than that government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals, Gen Xers and Boomers are more evenly divided on this issue. For their part, most Silents would like to see a less activist government.

When it comes to views on race, the two younger generations are more likely than older generations to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites in the United States today. And they are much more likely than their elders to approve of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of protest.

The younger generations are also more accepting of some of the ways in which American society is changing. Majorities among Gen Z and the Millennial generation say increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. is a good thing for society, while older generations are less convinced of this. And they’re more likely to have a positive view of interracial and same-sex marriage than their older counterparts.

As a recent Pew Research Center report highlighted, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation we have seen, but this isn’t all that’s driving the attitudes of this generation when it comes to issues surrounding race and diversity. There are significant, if more modest, generational differences on these issues even among non-Hispanic whites.
Roughly a third of Gen Zers know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns

While Generation Z’s views resemble those of Millennials in many areas, Gen Zers are distinct from Millennials and older generations in at least two ways, both of which reflect the cultural context in which they are coming of age. Gen Zers are more likely than Millennials to say they know someone who prefers that others use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to them: 35% say this is the case, compared with a quarter of Millennials. Among each older generation, the share saying this drops: 16% of Gen Xers, 12% of Boomers and just 7% of Silents say this.

The youngest generation is also the most likely to say forms or online profiles that ask about a person’s gender should include options other than “man” or “woman.” Roughly six-in-ten Gen Zers (59%) hold this view, compared with half of Millennials and four-in-ten or fewer Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents.

These findings seem to speak more to exposure than to viewpoint, as roughly equal shares of Gen Zers and Millennials say society should be more accepting of people who don’t identify as either a man or a woman.

Members of Gen Z also stand out somewhat in their views on the role social media plays in modern news consumption. These teens and young adults are much less likely than older generations to say the fact that more people are getting their news from social media is a bad thing for society – 39% of Gen Zers hold this view, compared with about half among each of the older generations.
Among Republicans, Gen Z stands out on some key issues

While they are young and their political views may not be fully formed, there are signs that those in Generation Z who identify as Republican or lean to the Republican Party diverge somewhat from older Republicans – even Millennials – in their views on several key issues. These same generational divides are not as apparent among Democrats.

On views about race relations, Gen Z Republicans are more likely than older generations of Republicans to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites. Among Republicans, 43% of Gen Zers say this, compared with 30% of Millennials and roughly 20% of Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents. Gen Z Republicans are also much more likely than their GOP counterparts in older generations to say increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. is a good thing for society. On each of these measures, Democrats’ views are nearly uniform across generations.

In addition, the youngest Republicans stand apart in their views on the role of government and the causes of climate change. Gen Z Republicans are much more likely than Republicans in older generations to say government should do more to solve problems. And they are less likely than their older counterparts to attribute the earth’s warming temperatures to natural patterns, as opposed to human activity.

While younger and older Americans differ in many of their views, there are some areas where generation is not as clearly linked with attitudes. When it comes to the merits of having more women running for political office, majorities across generations say this is a good thing for the country. Majorities in each generation also say that, on balance, legal immigrants have had a positive impact on the U.S.

This analysis is based on a survey of 920 U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 conducted online Sept. 17-Nov. 25, 2018, combined with a nationally representative survey of 10,682 adults ages 18 and older conducted online Sept. 24-Oct. 7, 2018, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.3 Findings based on Generation Z combine data from the teens survey with data from the 18- to 21-year-old respondents in the adult survey.
Gen Zers and Millennials share views on politics and policy; large generational gaps among Republicans

When it comes to views on political issues and the current political climate, younger generations have consistently held more liberal views than older generations in recent years. Today, members of Generation Z hold many similar views to Millennials, and both tend to be more liberal than older generations.

Seven-in-ten Gen Zers say the government should do more to solve problems in this country, while just 29% say the government is doing too many things that are better left to individuals and businesses. Gen Zers are slightly more likely to favor government activism than Millennials, and significantly more likely than older generations: 53% of Gen Xers, 49% of Baby Boomers and 39% of Silents favor government involvement over businesses and individuals.

Among Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party, the generational divides are even starker. Roughly half (52%) of Gen Z Republicans say they think the government should be doing more to solve problems, compared with 38% of Millennial Republicans and 29% of Gen Xers. About a quarter of Republican Baby Boomers (23%) and fewer GOP Silents (12%) believe the government should be doing more.

Among Democrats, however, these generational divides largely disappear. Roughly eight-in-ten Gen Z (81%) and Millennial Democrats (79%) say the government should do more to solve problems, as do about seven-in-ten Democratic Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents.

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.

When it comes to views of Donald Trump, there are sizable generational divides, particularly among Republicans. Nine-in-ten Republicans in the Silent Generation approve of the job the president is doing, as do 85% of Baby Boomer Republicans and 76% of Gen X Republicans; smaller majorities of GOP Millennials (65%) and Gen Zers (59%) think he’s doing a good job.

Younger generations also have a different view of the U.S. relative to other countries in the world. While pluralities of nearly all generations (with the exception of the Silent Generation) say the U.S. is one of the best countries in the world along with some others, Gen Zers and Millennials are the least likely to say the U.S. is better than all other countries. Only 14% and 13%, respectively, hold this view, compared with one-in-five Gen Xers, 30% of Boomers and 45% of Silents.

Roughly three-in-ten Gen Zers and Millennials say there are other countries that are better than the U.S.

In their views about the general direction of the country, Gen Zers are mostly downbeat, but they’re not alone in that assessment. Among Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers, two-thirds or more say things in this country are generally going in the wrong direction. About six-in-ten Boomers (61%) say the same. Members of the Silent Generation have a less negative view (53% say things are going in the wrong direction).

Today’s 13- to 21-year-olds are only slightly more likely than Millennials to say ordinary citizens can do a lot to influence the government in Washington (53% of Gen Zers say this vs. 46% of Millennials). And their views on this issue don’t differ much from those of Gen Xers, Boomers or Silents (50%, 58% and 58%, respectively, say citizens can have a lot of influence on the government).
Stark generational gaps in views on race

Younger generations have a different perspective than their older counterparts on the treatment of blacks in the United States. Two-thirds of Gen Z (66%) and 62% of Millennials say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in the U.S. Fewer Gen Xers (53%), Boomers (49%) and Silents (44%) say this. Roughly half of Silents (44%) say both races are treated about equally, compared with just 28% among Gen Z.

The patterns are similar after controlling for race: Younger generations of white Americans are far more likely than whites in older generations to say blacks are not receiving fair treatment.

Younger generations also have a different viewpoint on the issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem as a protest. Majorities among Gen Z (61%) and the Millennial generation (62%) approve of the protests. Smaller shares of Gen Xers (44%) and Baby Boomers (37%) favor these actions. Members of the Silent Generation disapprove of the protests by a more than two-to-one margin (68% disapprove, 29% approve).

Gen Zers and Millennials share similar views about racial and ethnic change in the country. Roughly six-in-ten from each generation say increased racial and ethnic diversity is a good thing for our society. Gen Xers are somewhat less likely to agree (52% say this is a good thing), and older generations are even less likely to view this positively.

Younger Republicans again stand out in this regard. Half of Gen Z Republicans (51%) say increased racial and ethnic diversity is a good thing for the country. This compares with 38% of Millennial, 34% of Gen X, 30% of Boomer and 28% of Silent Generation Republicans. Among Democrats, there is widespread agreement across generations.

Though they differ in their views over the changing racial and ethnic makeup of the country, across generations most Americans agree about the impact that legal immigrants have on society. On balance, all generations see legal immigration as more positive than negative. Across most generations, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say legal immigrants are having a positive impact. However, within Gen Z there is no partisan gap on this issue.

When it comes to views about how careful people should be in using potentially offensive language, members of Gen Z are divided over whether people need to be more careful or if concerns about political correctness have gone too far. Some 46% of Gen Zers say people need to be more careful about the language they use to avoid offending people with different backgrounds, while 53% say too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.

Gen Zers’ views are only modestly different from those of Millennials and Gen Xers on this topic: 39% and 38%, respectively, say people need to be more careful about the language they use, while about six-in-ten say people are too easily offended these days. Interestingly, members of the Silent Generation are closer to members of Gen Z in their views on this topic than they are to Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials.
Gen Z and Millennials have similar views on gender and family

Since they first entered adulthood, Millennials have been at the leading edge of changing views on same-sex marriage. In 2014, when a narrow majority of all adults (52%) said they favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, 67% of Millennials held that view. Today, members of Generation Z are just as likely as Millennials to say allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry has been a good thing for the country (48% of Gen Zers and 47% of Millennials hold this view). One-third of Gen Xers say this is a good thing for the country, as do 27% of Baby Boomers. Members of the Silent Generation are the least enthusiastic (18% say this is a good thing).

Relatively few Gen Zers or Millennials (15%) say same-sex marriage is a bad thing for society. Boomers and Silents are much more likely to view this change negatively (32% and 43%, respectively, say this is a bad thing). Across generations, about four-in-ten say allowing gays and lesbians to marry hasn’t made much of a difference for the U.S.

In other ways, too, Gen Zers and Millennials are similar in their openness to changes that are affecting the institutions of marriage and family. Roughly half (53%) from each generation say interracial marriage is a good thing for our society. Gen Xers are somewhat less likely to agree (41% say this is a good thing), and older generations are much less likely to view interracial marriage positively. Relatively few across generations say this trend is bad for society; majorities of Silents (66%) and Boomers (60%) say it doesn’t make much difference, as do 53% of Xers.

When it comes to couples living together without being married, roughly two-thirds of each generation (with the exception of Silents) say this doesn’t make much of a difference for society. About one-in-five Gen Zers and Millennials say cohabitation is a good thing for society – higher than the shares for older generations. Fully 41% of Silents say this is bad thing for the country, as do about a quarter of Boomers.

Compared with their views on cohabitation, the youngest generations have a more negative assessment of the impact of single women raising children: 35% among Gen Z and 36% of Millennials say this is a bad thing for society; roughly four-in-ten Gen Xers and Boomers and 48% of Silents say the same. About half of Gen Zers and Millennials say this doesn’t make much difference for society, while relatively few (15%) view it as a good thing.
Across generations, majorities say financial and child care responsibilities should be shared

In their views about gender roles within couples, members of Generation Z are virtually identical to Millennials and Gen Xers and quite similar to Baby Boomers. Large majorities in all four groups say that, in households with a mother and a father, the responsibility for providing for the family financially should be shared equally. About one-in-five Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers – and a quarter of Boomers – say this responsibility should fall primarily on the fathers. Very few say mothers should be mostly responsible for this. Silents are the outliers on this issue: 40% say fathers should be mostly responsible for providing for their families financially, while 58% say this responsibility should be shared between mothers and fathers.

For the most part, there are no notable gender gaps in views on this issue; the Silent Generation is the exception. Among Gen Zers, Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers, male and female respondents are largely in agreement that mothers and fathers should share family financial responsibility. Among members of the Silent Generation, roughly half of men (49%) but 33% of women say fathers should be mostly responsible for providing for the family financially.

Large majorities (84% or more) across generations say that responsibility for taking care of children should be shared by mothers and fathers in households with two parents. Some 13% among Gen Z say this responsibility should fall mainly to mothers; similar shares of each of the other generations say the same. Very few say raising children should fall mostly to dads. Male and female respondents across generations have similar views on this issue.
Widespread enthusiasm across generations for more women entering politics

A majority of Americans, regardless of generation, view the increasing number of women running for public office as a positive change for our society. Roughly two-thirds of Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers say this is a good thing, as do 61% of Boomers and 55% of Silents. About four-in-ten in the Silent Generation (39%) say this trend doesn’t make much difference for society, somewhat higher than the share among the three youngest generations (roughly three-in-ten).

There are significant gender gaps on this question, with female respondents expressing much more enthusiasm about the growing number of women running for office in each generation except the Silents. Among Gen Zers, 76% of young women, versus 57% of young men, say the fact that more women are running for office is a good thing for society. The pattern is similar for Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers. However, among Silents, roughly equal shares of men (57%) and women (54%) say this is a good thing.
Gen Zers most likely to say forms or online profiles should offer gender options beyond ‘man’ and ‘woman’

The recognition of people who don’t identify as a man or a woman has garnered increased attention amid changing laws concerning gender options on official documents and growing usage of gender-neutral pronouns.

There are stark generational differences in views on these issues. Generation Z is the most likely of the five generations to say that when a form or online profile asks about a person’s gender it should include options other than “man” and “woman”; a 59% majority of Gen Zers say this. Half of Millennials say forms or online profiles should include additional gender options, as do about four-in-ten Gen Xers (40%) and Boomers (37%) and roughly a third of those in the Silent Generation (32%).

These views vary widely along partisan lines, with generational differences evident within each party coalition, but sharpest among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. About four-in-ten Republican Gen Zers (41%) think forms should include other gender options, compared with 27% of Republican Millennials, 17% of GOP Gen Xers and Boomers and 16% of Republican Silents. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, half or more in all generations say this, including 71% of Gen Zers and 55% of Silents.
Gen Zers and Millennials have similar views on treatment of people who don’t identify as a man or woman

When it comes to how accepting society in general is of people who don’t identify as either a man or a woman, the views of Gen Zers and Millennials differ from those of older generations. Roughly half of Gen Zers (50%) and Millennials (47%) think that society is not accepting enough. Smaller shares of Gen Xers (39%), Boomers (36%) and those in the Silent Generation (32%) say the same.

A plurality of the Silent Generation (41%) say society is too accepting of people who don’t identify as a man or woman. Across all generations, roughly a quarter say society’s acceptance level is about right.

Again, there are large partisan gaps on this question, and Gen Z Republicans stand apart to some extent from other generations of Republicans in their views. Among Republicans, about three-in-ten Gen Zers (28%) say that society is not accepting enough of people who don’t identify as a man or woman, compared with 20% of Millennials, 15% of Gen Xers, 13% of Boomers and 11% of Silents. Democrats vary little by generation in shares holding this view.
Generations differ in their familiarity and comfort with using gender-neutral pronouns

Gen Zers and Millennials are much more familiar than their elders with the idea that some people may prefer gender-neutral pronouns: 74% of Gen Zers and 69% of Millennials say they have heard “a lot” or “a little” about people preferring that others use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” instead of “he” or “she” when referring to them, with about three-in-ten saying they have heard a lot about this. Most Gen Xers (62%) also have heard a lot or a little about people preferring gender-neutral pronouns.

There is less awareness of this among older generations. Still, half of Boomers and 45% of Silents say they have heard at least a little about gender-neutral pronouns.

Gen Zers are also the most likely among the five generations to say they personally know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, with 35% saying so, compared with 25% of Millennials. Each of these younger generations is more likely than Gen Xers (16%), Boomers (12%) and Silents (7%) to say they personally know someone who prefers that others use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to them. This generational pattern is evident among both Democrats and Republicans.

In addition to their greater familiarity with gender-neutral pronouns, Gen Zers and Millennials express somewhat higher levels of comfort with using gender-neutral pronouns, though generational differences on this question are more modest. Majorities of Gen Zers (57%) and Millennials (59%) say they would feel “very” or “somewhat” comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so, including about three-in-ten (32% of Gen Zers, 31% of Millennials) who say they would be very comfortable doing this. By comparison, Gen Xers and Boomers are evenly divided: About as many say they would feel at least somewhat comfortable (49% and 50%, respectively) as say they would be uncomfortable.

Silents are the only group in which more say they would feel uncomfortable (59%) than say they would feel comfortable (39%) using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone.

There are wide party gaps on this measure across generations. Within each generation, Democrats come down on the side of feeling comfortable, rather than uncomfortable, using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so. In contrast, for each generation of Republicans, majorities say they would feel uncomfortable doing this.

Across generations, knowing someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns is linked to comfort levels in using these pronouns. Three-quarters of Millennials and about two-thirds of Gen Zers, Gen Xers and Boomers who personally know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns say they would feel very or somewhat comfortable referring to someone with a gender-neutral pronoun. Those who don’t know someone are roughly 20 percentage points less likely to say the same (51% of Gen Zers, 54% of Millennials, 46% of Gen Xers and 48% of Boomers who don’t know someone say this).

Rubén Weinsteiner

lunes, 14 de enero de 2019

How Americans see illegal immigration, the border wall and political compromise

A Border Patrol officer makes his rounds near central El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 23, 2018. Parts of the federal government had shut down amid a debate in Washington over illegal immigration. (Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

A standoff between President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders over how to address unauthorized immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government – one that soon could become the longest on record.

The United States was home to 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in 2016, a 13% decline from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007, according to the most recent Pew Research Center estimates. This decade-long decline was driven almost entirely by a decrease in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, even as the numbers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras increased. Meanwhile, a growing share of unauthorized immigrants were not people who had entered the country illegally, but had arrived legally and then overstayed their visas.

More recent data from the federal government show that 2018 saw an uptick in border apprehensions (which are often used as a proxy measure for unlawful entries). There were nearly 416,000 apprehensions at the Southwest border between January and November last year, the most in any January-November period since 2014. Still, the number of apprehensions in 2018 remained far below the more than 1 million apprehensions per year routinely recorded during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

As Trump and Democrats press their cases about ways to end the government shutdown, here’s a look at how Americans see illegal immigration – as well as their views toward the border wall and how much political leaders should be open to compromise:

1The vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. are in the country legally – but fewer than half of Americans know that’s the case. Lawful immigrants accounted for about three-quarters (76%) of all immigrants in the U.S. in 2016. But in a survey conducted in June 2018, only 45% of Americans correctly said most immigrants are in the country legally. Around a third of U.S. adults (35%) incorrectly said that most immigrants are in the country illegally, while 6% said about half of all immigrants are here illegally and half legally. Another 13% did not provide a response.

2Republican and Democratic voters sharply disagree over whether illegal immigration is a major problem in the U.S. today. In a survey conducted ahead of last year’s midterm elections, three-quarters of registered voters who planned to support the GOP candidate in their congressional district said illegal immigration was a very big problem in the country, versus just 19% among voters who planned to support their Democratic candidate for Congress.



3A majority of Americans (56%) oppose substantially expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border – as Trump has sought – while 40% support doing so, according to a June 2018 survey by the Center. Attitudes diverge sharply by party: Nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (74%) support expanding the wall, while an even larger share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (83%) oppose it.

4Proximity to the Mexican border is a factor in Republicans’ views of a border wall. Republicans overwhelmingly favor building a wall along the entire border, but Republicans who live closer to the border are somewhat less likely to favor it, according to an analysis by the Center based on February 2017 survey data. The analysis found that 63% of Republicans who live within 350 miles of the border favor a wall along the entire border, compared with 74% of Republicans overall. Among Democrats, opposition to a wall is overwhelming regardless of their distance from the border.

5Disagreement between partisans extends to the effects of a wall. Around six-in-ten Republicans (58%) said in the February 2017 survey that a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico would lead to a major reduction in illegal immigration into the country. An even larger share of Democrats (65%) said it would not have much impact.

6Long before the shutdown began, most Democrats – and nearly half of Republicans – said the U.S. would ultimately pay for a wall. Nearly nine-in-ten Democrats (87%) said in February 2017that the U.S. would end up paying for a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico – a view shared by 46% of Republicans. Overall, seven-in-ten U.S. adults said the U.S. would ultimately pay for a wall, while just 16% said Mexico would pay for it.

7Most Americans favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%), including 89% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans, said in June 2018 that they favor such permanent legal status. Recent news reports have indicated that a discussion over legal status for such children may be part of broader negotiations over the federal government shutdown.

8Americans are more inclined to prefer politicians who stick to their positions than those who make compromises with people they disagree with (53% vs. 44%), according to a March 2018 survey. This marked a reversal from July 2017, when nearly six-in-ten Americans (58%) said they preferred politicians who compromised and 39% said they preferred politicians who stick to their positions. In the 2018 survey, there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats in views of compromise. That was a change from the sentiment found in six prior surveys since 2011, in which Democrats were more likely than Republicans to favor politicians who compromised.

9Whatever else they think of him,about two-thirds of Americans (68%) – including around half of Democrats – say Trump stands up for what he believes in, according to a September 2018 survey. Around nine-in-ten Republicans (91%) say Trump stands up for his beliefs, as do 52% of Democrats – a far higher share of Democrats than give the president positive marks on other personal qualities, such as being a strong leader, being well-informed and being trustworthy.

10Most Americans hoped for efforts at cooperation between Trump and Democratic leaders in the current Congress, according to a post-election survey conducted in November. More than eight-in-ten U.S. adults (84%) said Trump should cooperate either a great deal (39%) or a fair amount (45%) with Democratic leaders over the next two years. A smaller majority (65%), however, said Democratic leaders should cooperate with Trump a great deal (28%) or a fair amount (36%).

11% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they?



For many Americans, going online is an important way to connect with friends and family, shop, get news and search for information. Yet today, 11% of U.S. adults do not use the internet, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data.

The size of this group has changed little over the past three years, despite ongoing government and social service programs to encourage internet adoption in underserved areas. But that 11% figure is substantially lower than in 2000, when the Center first began to study the social impact of technology. That year, nearly half (48%) of American adults did not use the internet.

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey found some key reasons that some people do not use the internet. A third of non-internet users (34%) did not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the internet was relevant to their lives. Another 32% of non-users said the internet was too difficult to use, including 8% of this group who said they were “too old to learn.” Cost was also a barrier for some adults who were offline – 19% cited the expense of internet service or owning a computer.

The Center’s latest analysis also shows that internet non-adoption is correlated to a number of demographic variables, including age, educational attainment, household income and community type.



Seniors are the age group most likely to say they never go online. Although the share of non-internet users ages 65 and older decreased by 7 percentage points since 2016, about a third today do not use the internet, compared with only 2% of 18- to 29-year-olds. Household income and education are also indicators of a person’s likelihood to be offline. Roughly one-in-three adults with less than a high school education (35%) do not use the internet, but that share falls as the level of educational attainment increases. Adults from households earning less than $30,000 a year are far more likely than the most affluent adults to not use the internet (19% vs. 2%).

Rural Americans are more than twice as likely as those who live in urban or suburban settings to never use the internet. And while there have been consistent racial and ethnic differences in internet use since the Center first began measuring the activity, today, whites, blacks and Hispanics are all equally likely to be offline. (There were not enough Asian respondents in the sample to be broken out into a separate analysis.)

Despite some groups having persistently lower rates of internet adoption, the vast majority of Americans are online. Over time, the offline population has been shrinking, and for some groups that change has been especially dramatic. For example, 86% of adults ages 65 and older did not go online in 2000; today that figure has been reduced to 34%. Among those without a high school diploma, the share not using the internet dropped from 81% to 35% in the same time period.

lunes, 31 de diciembre de 2018

Public views on climate change and climate scientists



There is a host of ways Americans’ opinions about climate issues divide. The divisions start with views about the causes of global climate change. Nearly half of U.S. adults say climate change is due to human activity and a similar share says either that the Earth’s warming stems from natural causes or that there is no evidence of warming. The disputes extend to differing views about the likely impact of climate change and the possible remedies, both at the policy level and the level of personal behavior.

Roughly four-in-ten Americans expect harmful effects from climate change on wildlife, shorelines and weather patterns. At the same time, many are optimistic that both policy and individual efforts to address climate change can have an impact. A narrow majority of Americans anticipate new technological solutions to problems connected with climate change, and some 61% believe people will make major changes to their way of life within the next half century.

On all of these matters there are wide differences along political lines with conservative Republicans much less inclined to anticipate negative effects from climate change or to judge proposed solutions as making much difference in mitigating any effects. Half or more liberal Democrats, by contrast, see negative effects from climate change as very likely and believe an array of policy solutions can make a big difference.

Americans who are more deeply concerned about climate issues, regardless of their partisan orientation, are particularly likely to see negative effects ahead from climate change, and strong majorities among this group think policy solutions can be effective at addressing climate change.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans say climate scientists should have a major role in policy decisions about climate matters, more than say that the public, energy industry leaders, or national and international political leaders should be so involved.

But, overall, majorities of Americans appear skeptical of climate scientists. No more than a third of the public gives climate scientists high marks for their understanding of climate change; even fewer say climate scientists understand the best ways to address climate change. And, while Americans trust information from climate scientists more than they trust that from other groups, fewer than half of Americans have “a lot” of trust in information from climate scientists (39%).

A minority of Americans perceive that the best available scientific evidence is driving climate research findings most of the time. And a roughly equal share says other, more negative, factors influence climate research.

People’s trust and confidence in climate scientists varies widely depending on their political orientation. Liberal Democrats are much more trusting of climate scientists’ understanding of the issue and disclosure of full and accurate information about it. Republicans, particularly conservatives, are highly critical of climate scientists and more likely to ascribe negative rather than positive motives to the influences shaping scientists’ research.

This chapter provides an overview of Americans’ attitudes about climate change and climate scientists. It then details the divides in these views among political groups and among those who are more or less concerned about climate issues. Americans who care more about the issue of climate change, regardless of political orientation, are more trusting of climate scientists, more likely to expect negative effects to occur because of climate change, and more likely to believe that both individual efforts and policy actions can be effective in addressing climate change.
Beliefs about global climate change remain fairly stable

Roughly half of adults (48%) say climate change is mostly due to human activity; roughly three-in-ten say it is due to natural causes (31%) and another fifth say there is no solid evidence of warming (20%).

The share saying human activity is the primary cause of climate change is about the same as Pew Research Center surveys in 2014 (50%) and 2009 (49%). Center surveys from 2006 to 2015 using somewhat different question wording found a similar share expressing this view (45% in the most recent, 2015 survey).
There is a broad public expectation that climate change will have negative effects on animal and plant life, shorelines and weather patterns

Large majorities of Americans think global warming will lead to an array of negative effects for the Earth’s ecosystems. At least three-quarters of Americans say that harm to animal habitats and plant life is very or fairly likely to occur. A similar share expects storms to become more severe and damage to shorelines or more frequent droughts to occur.1

Americans who believe global climate change is the result of human activity are far more likely than other Americans (those who believe climate change results from natural patterns or that there is no evidence of global warming) to say each of these effects is very likely.

A 61% majority of the public expects Americans will make major changes to their ways of life in order to address problems from climate change within the next half century, while 38% do not expect this to occur. The public, as a whole, sides to optimism (55% to 44%) that new technological solutions will arise within the next 50 years that can solve most of the problems from climate change.
Roughly half of U.S. adults say restrictions on power plant emissions, international agreements can bring change; a sizeable minority sees individual efforts as effective too

There are a number of different proposals to address climate change. The Pew Research Center survey explored people’s views about whether each of several policy and individual actions can be effective at addressing climate change.

Americans are largely optimistic that restrictions on power plant emissions (51%) and international agreements to limit carbon emissions (49%) can make a big difference to address climate change. The Obama administration announced stricter limits on power plant emissions in 2015. This year, more than 175 countries, including the U.S., have signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce carbon emissions around the world.

Public assessments of other policy proposals are similar. Some 46% say tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks can make a big difference in addressing climate change; 45% say corporate tax incentives that encourage businesses to reduce carbon emissions caused by their actions can too.

About four-in-ten Americans (41%) say having more hybrid and electric vehicles on the road can have a big effect; 38% think people’s efforts to reduce their own “carbon footprints” as they go about daily living can make a big difference, while another 44% say this can make a small difference.
Who do Americans want most at the policy table? Climate scientists, followed by the public. Fewer say elected officials, international political leaders should have a major role

A majority of Americans say that climate scientists should have a role in policy decisions about climate issues. Two-thirds (67%) of U.S. adults say climate scientists should have a major role and 23% say they should have a minor role. Just 9% say climate scientists should have no role in policy issues regarding global climate change.

Following scientific experts on the list, 56% of adults say the general public should have a major role in policy decisions about climate issues, followed by 53% that name energy industry leaders.

By comparison, fewer Americans believe elected officials should have a major role in climate policy decisions. In all, 44% of U.S. adults say elected officials should have a major role, another four-in-ten (40%) say elected leaders should have a minor role in climate policy-making.

Public views about the role of elected officials in policy decisions on climate issues may tie with deep public cynicism about the federal government, generally. Or, as shown later in this chapter, those beliefs could tie to distrust that elected officials provide full and accurate information about the causes of climate change.

People’s normative views about the place of international leaders in these decisions are similar to that for U.S. leaders.
Minority of public sees consensus among climate scientists over causes of global warming

Scientists first noted the possibility that the burning of greenhouse gases, such as fossil fuels, could increase temperatures back in the 1800s. A report from National Academy of Sciences in 1977 warned that the burning of fossil fuels could result in average temperatures increases of 6 degrees Celsius by the year 2150.2

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which reflects scientific opinion on the topic, stated in the forward to its 2013 report, “the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.”3 And, several analyses of scholarly publications suggest widespread consensus among climate scientists on this point.4

Similarly, a Pew Research Center survey of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) found 93% of members with a Ph.D. in Earth sciences (and 87% of all members) say the Earth is warming mostly because of human behavior.5

But, in the public eye, there is considerably less consensus. Just 27% of Americans say that “almost all” climate scientists hold human behavior responsible for climate change. Another 35% say more than half of climate scientists agree about this, while an equal share says that about fewer than half (20%) or almost no (15%) scientific experts believe that human behavior is the main contributing factor in climate change.

Consistent with previous Pew Research Center studies, people’s perceptions of consensus among climate scientists are closely related to their beliefs about global climate change. Among those who say climate change is due to human activity, many more say scientists are in agreement on the main cause of climate change.
U.S. public is largely skeptical of climate scientists’ understanding of climate change

Americans appear to harbor significant reservations about climate scientists’ expertise and understanding of what is happening to the Earth’s climate. One-in-three adults (33%) say climate scientists understand “very well” whether climate change is occurring, another 39% say scientists understand this “fairly well” and some 27% say scientists don’t understand this “too well” or don’t understand it at all.

Just over a quarter of the public – 28% – says climate scientists have a solid understanding of the causes of climate change. And even fewer, 19%, of adults say the same about climate scientists’ understanding of the best ways to address climate change.
While Americans trust information from climate scientists more than that from other key players, fewer than half have “a lot” of faith that they are getting full and accurate information

Americans hold relatively positive views about climate scientists, compared with other groups, as credible sources of information. Far more Americans say they trust information from climate scientists on the causes of climate change than say they trust either energy industry leaders, the news media or elected officials. But in absolute terms, public trust in information from climate scientists is limited.

Some 39% of Americans say they trust climate scientists a lot when it comes to providing information about the causes of climate change. About a fifth of Americans (22%) hold no trust or not too much trust in information from climate scientists. Another 39% report “some” trust in climate scientists to give a full and accurate portrait of the causes of climate change.

Public trust in information from the news media, energy industry leaders and elected officials is significantly lower, however. A majority of Americans report having not too much or no trust in information from these groups about the causes of climate change.
Few say climate research findings reliably undergirded by the best available evidence; similar shares say other, more negative factors influence climate research

This survey included a series of questions that tapped into Americans’ beliefs of potential influences on climate research, and the findings suggest some skepticism and mixed assessments from the public. A minority of 32% of Americans say climate research is influenced by the best available evidence “most of the time,” 48% say this occurs some of the time and 18% take a decidedly skeptical view that the best evidence rarely or never influences research findings.

A similar share of Americans say that scientists’ career aspirations influence their research most of the time (36%). A smaller share of adults say scientists’ political leanings (27%) or their desires to help related industries (26%) influence climate research findings most of the time. But majorities say these less germane motivations influence results at least some of the time.

While most Americans say the public’s best interest factors into climate change research at least some of the time, only 23% of Americans say climate research is influenced by concern for public interests most of the time. Overall, 28% say this occurs not too often or never and 48% of Americans take a middle position, saying this sometimes influences climate research findings.
Politics is the central factor shaping people’s beliefs about the effects of climate change, ways to address warming, trust in climate scientists

Why we include “leaners” in the Democratic and Republican groups

Throughout this report, Republicans and Democrats include independents and other non-partisans who lean toward the parties. Partisan leaners tend to have attitudes and opinions very similar to those of partisans. On questions about climate change and trust of climate scientists, there are wide differences between those who lean to the Democratic Party and those who lean to the Republican Party. And leaners and partisans of their party have roughly the same positions on these questions.

Political divides are dominant in public views about climate matters. Consistent with past Pew Research Center surveys, most liberal Democrats espouse human-caused climate change, while most conservative Republicans reject it. But this new Center survey finds that political differences over climate issues extend across a host of beliefs about the expected effects of climate change, actions that can address changes to the Earth’s climate, and trust and credibility in the work of climate scientists. People on the ideological ends of either party, that is liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, see the world through vastly different lenses across all of these judgments.
Political groups differ widely over beliefs about climate and ways to address warming

As with previous Pew Research Center surveys, there are wide differences among political party and ideology groups on whether or not human activity is responsible for warming temperatures. A large majority of liberal Democrats (79%) believe the Earth is warming mostly because of human activity. In contrast, only about one-in-six conservative Republicans (15%) say this, a difference of 64 percentage points. A much larger share of conservative Republicans say there is no solid evidence the Earth is warming (36%) or that warming stems from natural causes (48%).

Pew Research Center surveys have found these kinds of wide political gaps in previous years. In the 2015 Center survey, using somewhat different question wording, there was a 41-percentage-point difference between partisans; 64% of Democrats said climate change was mostly due to human activity, compared with 23% among Republicans.
Most liberal Democrats think negative effects from global climate change are likely

People’s beliefs about the likely effects of climate change are quite uniformly at odds across party and ideological lines. About six-in-ten or more of liberal Democrats say it is very likely that climate change will bring droughts, storms that are more severe, harm to animal and plant life, and damage to shorelines from rising sea levels. By contrast, no more than about two-in-ten conservative Republicans say each of these possibilities is “very likely”; about half consider these possibilities not too or not at all likely.

There are more modest differences when it comes to people’s expectations that technological breakthroughs will solve climate problems in the future or that the American people will make major changes to their way of life as a result of climate change. A majority of Democrats think technological changes will help address climate change within the next 50 years; views among moderate/liberal Republicans are similar. Some 46% of conservative Republicans think this will probably or definitely occur. Similarly, about half of conservative Republicans (49%) expect Americans to make major changes to their way of life to address climate issues within the next five decades, as do majorities of other party and ideology groups.
Most conservative Republicans say each of six actions to address climate change would have small or negligible effects; most liberal Democrats believe each can make a big difference

There is wide gulf between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans when it comes to beliefs about how to effectively address climate change. Liberal Democrats are optimistic that a range of policy actions can make “a big difference” in addressing climate change including: power plant emission limits, international agreements about emissions, tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, and corporate tax incentives to encourage businesses to reduce emissions resulting from their activities. And, at least half of liberal Democrats say that both personal efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of everyday activities and more people driving hybrid and electric vehicles can make a big difference in addressing global warming.

By contrast, conservative Republicans are largely pessimistic about the effectiveness of these options. Most conservative Republicans say each of these actions would make a small difference or have no effect on climate change. About three-in-ten or fewer conservative Republicans say each would make a big difference.
Most support a role for climate scientists in climate policy decisions, though political groups differ in relative priorities for scientists and the public in policy matters

More than three-quarters of Democrats and most Republicans (69% among moderate or liberal Republicans and 48% of conservative Republicans) say climate scientists should have a major role in policy decisions related to climate issues. Few in either party say climate scientists should have no role in these policy decisions.

But there some differences among party and ideology groups in their relative priorities about this. Conservative Republicans give a higher comparative priority to the general public in policy decisions about climate change issues. Democrats and moderate/liberal Republicans prioritize a role for climate scientists.

Relative to other groups rated, fewer Americans think elected officials should have a major say in climate policy. Conservative Republicans stand out as being disinclined to support a major role for elected officials or leaders from other nations in climate policy.
There are wide opinion differences over whether scientists understand climate change

People’s assessments of scientific understanding about climate also ties strongly to their political perspectives. Most liberal Democrats rate climate scientists as understanding “very well” whether climate change is occurring (68%) and about half say scientists understand “very well” the causes of climate change (54%). By contrast, just 11% of conservative Republicans judge climate scientists as understanding very well the sources of climate change. Fully 63% of this group says climate scientists understand the causes of climate change “not too” or “not at well.”

Fewer in either party think climate scientists understand ways to address climate change. Some 36% of liberal Democrats say climate scientists understand this “very well” and 49% say scientists understand this “fairly well.” Conservative Republicans are particularly skeptical of climate scientists’ understanding of ways to address climate change; just 8% say scientists understand how to address climate change “very well,” 28% say “fairly well” and 64% rate scientific understanding of this as “not too well” or “not at all well.”
Liberal Democrats are most likely to see widespread agreement among climate scientists

American’s perceptions of scientific consensus on climate change are also related to political divides, as has also been found in past Pew Research Center surveys.6

Liberal Democrats are far more likely than any other party or ideology group to see strong consensus among climate scientists. Some 55% of liberal Democrats say almost all climate scientists agree that human behavior is mostly responsible for climate change.

Much smaller shares of other groups see widespread consensus among climate scientists. Some 29% of moderate/conservative Democrats say almost all climate scientists agree that human behavior is responsible for climate change, while some 16% of conservative Republicans and 13% of moderate/liberal Republicans say the same.

People’s perceptions of scientific consensus, even among liberal Democrats, are at odds with the near unanimity expressed in climate research publications that human activity is mostly responsible for climate change, however.7
Deep political divide over whether to trust information from climate scientists

Public trust in information from climate scientists about the causes of climate change varies widely among political groups. Seven-in-ten (70%) liberal Democrats trust climate scientists a lot to provide full and accurate information about this, another 24% report some trust in information from climate scientists. In contrast, just 15% of conservative Republicans say they trust climate scientists a lot to give full and accurate information, four-in-ten (40%) report some trust and 45% have not too much or no trust in information from climate scientists. Moderate or liberal Republicans and moderate or conservative Democrats fall in the middle between these two extremes in their level of trust.
Liberal Democrats see the influences and motivations behind climate research findings in a mostly positive light; conservative Republicans are much more negative

American’s judgments about the credibility of climate research findings are also tied with people’s political party and ideological orientations. At least half of liberal Democrats (55%) say climate research is influenced by the best available evidence most of the time, and 39% say this occurs some of the time. By contrast, just 9% of conservative Republicans say the best evidence influences climate research most of the time, though 54% say this occurs some of the time.

Conservative Republicans are particularly skeptical about the factors influencing climate research. Some 57% of conservative Republicans say climate research is influenced by researchers’ career interests most of the time and 54% say the scientists’ own political leanings influence research findings most of the time. A much smaller share of liberal Democrats say either of these factors influence scientific research most of the time, although many say scientists’ career interests or personal political leanings influence the findings some of the time (54% for each).
More than a third of Americans are deeply concerned about climate issues; their views about climate change and scientists differ starkly from the less concerned

The public’s level of concern about climate matters varies. The Pew Research Center survey finds 36% of Americans particularly concerned, saying they care a great deal about the issue of global climate change. An additional 38% express some interest, while 26% say they care not too much or not at all about the issue of climate change.

Not surprisingly, those who care a great deal about global climate change issues are more attentive to climate news. Some 26% of those who care about climate issues a great deal follow climate news reports very closely, compared with just 3% among those less concerned about these issues.
A profile of climate-engaged Americans

Those most concerned about climate issues come from all gender, age, education, race and ethnic groups. Those more concerned about climate issues are slightly more likely to be women than men (55% vs. 45%). And, they are more likely to be Hispanic than the population as whole.

Politically, those who care more deeply about climate issues tend to be Democrats. They include about equal shares of moderate or conservative Democrats (37%) and liberal Democrats (35%). Some 24% are Republicans.
Those most concerned about climate issues hold beliefs that differ starkly from those who are less concerned

Political party affiliation and ideology are not the only factors that shape people’s views about climate issues and climate scientists. People who say they care a great deal about this issue are far more likely to believe the Earth is warming because of human activities, to believe negative effects from climate change are likely, and that proposals to address climate change will be effective. This group also holds more positive views about climate scientists and their research, on average. Differences between those more concerned and less concerned occur among both Republicans and Democrats.

About three-quarters of Americans who care deeply about climate change say the Earth is warming because of human activity (76%), this compares with 48% among those who care some and just 10% among those who do not care at all or not too much about this issue.

Differences between those who care more and less about climate change issues occur among both Republicans and Democrats. Some 44% of Republicans who care a great deal about climate issues believe human behavior is causing temperatures to rise, compared with just 17% of Republicans who care some or less about this issue. Similarly, among Democrats, 87% of those who care a great deal about climate issues believe human activity is mostly responsible for global climate change, compared with 52% among those who care some or less about the issue of climate change.

Large majorities of those who care most about this issue think it is very likely that climate change will hurt the environment. Roughly three-quarters of those deeply concerned about climate issues think climate change will very likely bring harm to animal life (74%), damage to forests and plants life (74%), more droughts (73%), more severe storms (74%), and damage to shorelines from rising sea levels (74%). By contrast, roughly a third of those who care “some” about this issue say each of these possible effects is very likely. Many of those who do not care at all or not too much about the issue of climate change say the evidence of warming is uncertain; this group is particularly skeptical that any of these harms will come to pass. Differences among the more and less concerned about climate issues occur both among Republicans and Democrats alike.

There are smaller differences when it comes to people’s expectations that Americans will make major changes to their way of life in order to address climate change. About two-thirds of those who care a great deal about climate issues (67%) expect this to occur within the next 50 years, as does a similar share of those who care some about this issue (70%) and 42% of those who do not care at all or not too much about the issue of climate change. And, 63% of the more climate-engaged Americans expect new technological solutions to address most problems stemming from climate change. Those who care some about climate issues hold similar views; 62% expect technological solutions. Those who have little personal concern about the issue of climate change are more skeptical; 34% expect technological solutions, 64% do not.
People who are especially concerned about climate issues are optimistic that both policy and personal efforts can be effective at addressing climate change

Majorities of climate-engaged Americans are optimistic that a range of both policy and individual actions can make a big difference in addressing climate change. Those less personally concerned about climate issues are considerably more pessimistic, by comparison.

About eight-in-ten of those more deeply concerned about climate issues say restrictions on power plant emissions (80%) and an international agreement to limit carbon emissions (78%) can make a big difference in addressing climate change. Some 73% of this group says tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks can make a big difference, and seven-in-ten (70%) say the same about corporate tax incentives to encourage businesses to reduce the carbon emissions stemming from their activities. By contrast, no more than two-in-ten American who are not at all or not too personally concerned about climate issues think each of these policy actions can make a big difference, although a sizeable minority among this group says each can make a small difference. Those who care “some” about the issue of climate change fall in between these two extremes; roughly four-in-ten of this group say each of these policy actions can make a big difference; a roughly similar share says each can make a small difference.

The same pattern occurs when it comes to individual efforts to address climate change. Among those who care deeply about climate issues, 63% believe individual efforts to reduce the “carbon footprint” linked with one’s daily activities can make a big difference. Among those who care some about this issue, about half as many say this can make a big difference (33%), and most (58%) say it can make a small difference. Just 12% of those with little personal concern about climate change say individual efforts of this sort can make a big difference, 42% says this can make a small difference, and 43% says this will have almost no effect. Similarly, some 63% of those personally concerned about climate issues say more people driving hybrid and electric vehicles can make a big difference in addressing climate change, compared with 40% among those who care some about climate issues and just 13% among those who do not care at all or not too much about climate issues.
Climate-engaged public is far more likely to trust climate scientists’ information and understanding of climate issues, see climate research findings as rooted in the evidence

People who care more deeply about climate issues are also more likely than others in the general public to see climate scientists’ and their work in a positive light.

Nearly all (90%) Americans who are deeply concerned about climate change issues support a major role for climate scientists in related policy decisions, as do 68% of Americans with some personal concern about climate issues. About a third (34%) of those with not too much or no personal concern about climate issues say climate scientists should have a major role, and 41% say scientists should have a minor role in climate policy.

This pattern holds among both Democrats and Republicans. For example, some 87% of Republicans who care a great deal about climate issues say climate scientists should have a major role in climate policy. This compares with 48% among other Republicans.

Those who care a great deal about climate issues are much more likely than other Americans to say climate scientists understand very well whether change is occurring (64% vs. 23% among those care some and 7% among those do not care at all or not too much about this issue). About half of those deeply concerned about climate issues (52%) say climate scientists understand very well the causes of climate change, compared with just 19% among those with some personal concern and just 8% among those with no or not too much personal concern about this issue.

More Americans who care a great deal about climate issues say scientists understand the best ways to address climate change very well (37%) or fairly well (48%). Many fewer of less climate-concerned adults say the same. Just 13% of those with some personal concern about climate issues say scientists understand very well how to address climate change, while 56% say scientists understand this fairly well. And, just 5% of those with no or little personal concern about climate issues say scientists understand very well how to address climate change, 25% say scientists understand this fairly well and 68% say scientists do not understand this at all or not too well. Differences over climate scientists’ understanding occur among both Democrats and Republicans who are relatively more and less concerned about climate change.

Similarly, people who care more about climate issues are more inclined to see consensus among scientists about the causes of climate change. Some 48% of the climate-concerned public says that almost all climate scientists agree that human activity is responsible for climate change; this compares with just 19% saying almost all scientists agree about this among those who care some about climate issues and 12% among those who do not care at all or not too much about climate issues.
Two-thirds of Americans deeply concerned about climate issues trust information from climate scientists

Those more concerned about global climate issues are far more trusting of information from climate scientists than are those less concerned about these issues. Two-thirds of the public who cares a great deal about climate issues (67%) say they trust climate scientists a lot to provide full and accurate information on the causes of global climate change. In contrast, 33% of those who care some about climate issues trust scientists’ information a lot, while 53% trust it some. Just 9% of those with little or no personal concern about climate issues trust scientists’ information a lot, 36% trust it some and 55% have not too much or no trust in information from climate scientists about this.

Democrats and Republicans who care a great deal about climate issues are more than twice as likely as their fellow partisans to hold a lot of trust in information from climate scientists. Among Republicans who care about climate issues, 46% trust climate scientists’ information a lot compared with 16% among other Republicans. Among Democrats, fully 76% of those who care about climate issues a great deal say they trust climate scientists’ information a lot compared with 34% among other Democrats.
Those deeply concerned about climate issues are more inclined to see research findings as rooted in the best available evidence, fewer say other motives of scientists underlie the research findings

Americans who are more concerned with climate issues are inclined to think research findings on climate are influenced by the best available evidence; about half of this group (51%) says research is influenced by the best evidence most of the time and 39% say this occurs some of the time. In contrast, three-in-ten (30%) of those with some personal concern about climate issues say the best evidence influences climate research findings most of the time, 60% say this occurs some of the time. Just 9% of those with no or not too much personal concern about climate issues say the best evidence influences climate research findings most of the time, 42% say this occurs some of the time and 45% say this occurs not too often or never.

By the same token, there are similar differences in views about negative influences on research between those who care deeply about climate issues and those who do not; the climate-concerned public is less inclined to see such research as influenced by scientists’ personal political leanings, a desire to help their industries or their careers.
Public views of news coverage about global climate change

The news media are a key source of information about climate issues. The Pew Research Center survey finds only a small minority (11%) of Americans follow news about climate matters very closely. Another 44% follow somewhat closely, and an equal share follows news not too (32%) or not at all closely (12%).

Overall, Americans are closely divided in their assessments of media coverage on climate issues. Some 47% say the news media do a very or somewhat good job, while 51% say they do a bad job covering climate issues.

These findings stand in contrast to American’s views about the media overall. As shown elsewhere in this report, just 5% say they have a great deal of confidence in the news media, generally, to act in the public interest. A 2013 Pew Research Center report documents the steep decline in public regard for media accuracy, fairness and independence over the past two decades.

People who say they closely follow climate news tend to give the media somewhat higher marks for coverage in this area as do those who say care a great deal about climate issues.

Public views about media performance also tend to divide along political lines. Conservative Republicans are especially critical of media coverage on climate issues with 71% of this group saying the media do a bad job. Moderate and liberal Republicans are closely divided in their overall evaluations of news coverage on climate (47% say they do a good job and 52% say they do a bad job). The balance of opinion is more positive among moderate and conservative Democrats (64% good to 34% bad) though liberal Democrats are closely divided (48% to 51%) on this issue. This pattern is broadly consistent with other Pew Research Center studies on views of the media.

The public divide over media performance in this area could link to the balance of coverage on climate issues. The Pew Research Center survey included two additional questions exploring people’s views about news coverage.

Overall, some 35% of Americans say the media exaggerate the threat from climate change while a roughly similar share (42%) of adults says the media do not take the threat seriously enough. Two-in-ten (20%) adults says the media are about right in their reporting about climate.

The same pattern occurs on a question about the balance of attention to those skeptical of climate change. Four-in-ten (40%) adults say the media give too little attention to skeptics, while a slightly smaller share (32%) says the media give skeptics too much attention. A quarter of Americans (25%) say the media are about right in their coverage of those skeptical about climate change.

In keeping with the wide political divides on beliefs about climate issues, there are strong political differences in views about media coverage of climate change. A majority of conservative Republicans (72%) say the media exaggerate the threat of climate change, while some 64% of liberal Democrats say the media do not take the threat seriously enough.

Opinions about media coverage of skeptics follow a similar pattern. Some 59% of conservative Republicans say the media give too little attention to skeptics of climate change. In contrast, about half of liberal Democrats (54%) say the media give too much attention to skeptics of climate change.


Public opinion on renewables and other energy sources

Americans’ concerns about climate change have put energy production of fossil fuels and the carbon gases these fuels emit at the center of public discussions about climate and the environment. Those debates coupled with long-standing economic pressures to decrease reliance on other countries for energy needs have raised attention to renewable forms of energy including solar and wind power.

Public opinion about energy issues is widely supportive of expanding both solar and wind power but more closely divided when it comes to expanding fossil fuel energies such as coal mining, offshore oil and gas drilling, and hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas. While there are substantial party and ideological divides over increasing fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources, strong majorities of all party and ideology groups support more solar and wind production.
Most Americans know the U.S. is producing more energy today

Most Americans are aware of America’s ongoing energy boom. The United States is producing more energy from fossil fuels and has ticked up production of renewable sources such as wind and solar. A large majority of Americans (72%) say the United States is producing more energy than it did 20 years ago. Far smaller shares say the U.S. is producing the same level (17%) or less energy (10%) than it did 20 years ago8

Majorities across demographic, educational and political groups say the U.S. is producing more energy today. Awareness of this trend is especially high among those with postgraduate degrees (86% compared with 64% among those with high school degrees or less). Men are more inclined to say the U.S. is producing more energy than women (79% vs. 66%), while Democrats are modestly more likely than Republicans to say this (79% vs. 65%).
Strong public support for more wind and solar, closer divides over nuclear and fossil fuels

Large majorities of Americans favor expanding renewable sources to provide energy, but the public is far less supportive of increasing the production of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, and nuclear energy.

Fully 89% of Americans favor more solar panel farms, just 9% oppose. A similarly large share supports more wind turbine farms (83% favor, 14% oppose).

By comparison, the public is more divided over expanding the production of nuclear and fossil fuel energy sources. Specifically, 45% favor more offshore oil and gas drilling, while 52% oppose. Similar shares support and oppose expanding hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for oil and gas (42% favor and 53% oppose). Some 41% favor more coal mining, while a 57% majority opposes this.

And, 43% of Americans support building more nuclear power plants, while 54% oppose. Past Pew Research Center surveys on energy issues, using somewhat different question wording and survey methodology, found opinion broadly in keeping with this new survey. For example, the balance of opinion in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey about building more nuclear power plants was similar (45% favor, 51% oppose), and some 52% of Americans favored and 44% opposed allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in that survey.
Most Republicans and Democrats favor expanding renewables; there are strong divides over expanding fossil fuels

Across the political spectrum, large majorities support expansion of solar panel and wind turbine farms. Some 83% of conservative Republicans favor more solar panel farms; so, too, do virtually all liberal Democrats (97%). Similarly, there is widespread agreement across party and ideological groups in favor of expanding wind energy.

Consistent with past Pew Research Center surveys, this new survey finds there are deep political divides over expanding fossil fuel energy sources. Conservative Republicans stand out from other party and ideology groups in this regard. At least seven-in-ten conservative Republicans support more coal mining (73%), fracking (70%) and offshore drilling (76%). A majority of Democrats oppose expanding each of these energy sources while moderate/liberal Republicans fall somewhere in the middle on these issues.

The political divide over expanding nuclear energy is smaller. Some 57% of conservative Republicans, and 51% of all Republicans, favor more nuclear power plants. Democrats lean in the opposite direction with 59% opposed and 38% in favor of more nuclear power plants.

As also found in past Pew Research Center surveys, women are less supportive of expanding nuclear power than men, even after controlling for politics and education. Some 34% of women favor and 62% oppose more nuclear plants. Men are more closely divided on this issue: 52% favor and 46% oppose. Men and women hold more similar views on other energy issues.
Many Americans are giving serious thought to having solar panels at home

America’s solar power industry is growing. In 2016, solar is expected to add more electricity generating capacity than any other energy source in the United States. Just 4% of Americans report having home solar panels but many more − 37% − say they are giving it serious thought.

These figures are similar among homeowners. Some 44% of homeowners have already installed (4%) or have given serious thought to installing (40%) solar panels at home.

Western residents and younger adults are especially likely to say are considering, or have installed, solar panels at home. Some 14% of homeowners in the West have installed solar panels at home and another 52% say they are considering doing so. By contrast, 35% of homeowners in the South say they have installed (3%) or given serious thought to installing solar at home (33%).

Some 55% of homeowners under age 50 say they have given serious thought to installing or have already installed solar panels at home. Fewer homeowners ages 50 and older say the same (36%).

The key reasons people cite for considering solar are financial followed by concern for the environment. Among all who have installed or given serious thought to installing solar panels, large majorities say their reasons include cost savings on utilities (92%) or helping the environment (87%). Smaller shares of this group, though still majorities, say improved health (67%) or a solar tax investment credit (59%) are reasons they have or would install home solar panels.