Americans Feel Most Comfortable Talking About Climate Change With Friends and Family
Many climate activists have been working for years to transform climate change into a kitchen-table issue, and new research suggests these efforts have succeeded. ecoAmerica’s latest report explores who Americans feel comfortable talking with about climate change, revealing that family and friends are at the top of the list. These conversations are important — engaging in climate conversations can create a positive feedback loop, resulting in further conversation. Talking about climate change can also help reassure people around you that they are not alone in their climate concern, as recent research shows.
Climate Conversations: Turning to Family and Friends
ecoAmerica’s latest survey finds that 67% of Americans feel comfortable talking to their family about climate change. Most Americans feel comfortable talking to their friends, too (64%), but far fewer are comfortable talking with co-workers, neighbors, and elected officials. Just under 3 in 10 Americans report feeling comfortable talking about the issue with co-workers (29%) and neighbors (27%). Less than 1 in 4 Americans feel comfortable talking to their elected officials (23%).
Democrats and 45-69 Year-Olds Most Comfortable Talking About Climate, Male/Female Comfortability Depends on Audience
Key Findings by Political Affiliation
ecoAmerica’s survey finds that compared to other political parties, Democrats report feeling more comfortable talking about climate change with a variety of people around them including family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. While Americans generally feel less comfortable talking to elected officials about climate change, Democrats and Independents feel more comfortable than their counterparts. 27% of Democrats and 26% of Independents report feeling comfortable talking about climate change with elected officials while only 19% of Republicans and 14% of Americans who selected “something else” for their political party feel comfortable doing so.
Key Findings by Age
Most Americans feel comfortable talking to family and friends about climate change, but the 45-60 year old age group reports more comfort talking to family in particular (73% compared to 67% nationally). Americans in the 30-44 age group report feeling less comfortable talking to elected officials about the issue (19%) than the national average (23%) and other age groups.
Key Findings by Sex*
Sex also reveals differences in comfortability. Over 7 in 10 (71%) Americans who identify as female report feeling comfortable talking about climate change with their family, 4 points higher than the national average and 7 points higher than those who identify as males. However, with neighbors and elected officials, males report more comfortability. 34% of male respondents say they feel comfortable talking about climate change with neighbors, compared to 26% of female respondents. And, while still low, 28% of males report feeling comfortable talking to elected officials compared to 19% of female respondents.
Full data featured in this blog is available in the accompanying toplines.
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ecoAmerica designed and administered this survey, which was conducted online on January 5-6, 2023 using Survey Monkey. The survey yielded a total of 1,056 complete adult responses and used the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to weigh the national general population and reflect the demographic composition of the US. The sample was drawn from an online panel and the respondents were screened to ensure that they were over the age of 18. The margin of error for the sample is +/-3%. In interpreting the survey results, it is important to note that all sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error. Thus, the results of a survey may differ from the results that would be obtained if the entire population was interviewed. The size of the sampling error depends upon both the total number of respondents in the survey and the percentage distribution of the responses to a particular question. For example, if 50% of the respondents in a sample of 1,066 respondents answered, “Yes” to a particular question, we can be 95% confident that the true percentage would fall within 3 points, or range from 47% to 53%.
*Survey Monkey provides demographic breakdowns by age, device type, sex, household income, and region. Only female and male responses were provided when analyzing results by sex. Gender demographics were not provided.
Speiser, M., Hill, A. N. (March, 2023). American Climate Perspectives Survey 2023. Vol II. Americans Feel Most Comfortable Talking About Climate Change With Friends and Family. ecoAmerica. Washington, DC.
© 2023 ecoAmerica. The contents of this report may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
For more information contact us at research@ecoAmerica.org.
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