🏠 Americans Worry Climate Change Will Hurt Housing 🏠
About 9 in 10 Americans expect climate change to affect real estate, with 50% believing it will make homes more expensive.
9 in 10 Americans Concerned | Why Some Doubt Climate Change | Many Say the Threat Has Arrived | Most Want U.S. to Do More | Willing to Make Sacrifices | Housing Impacts of Climate Change | Home-Buying and Climate Change
As scientists raise alarm bells over the threat of climate change, to what extent are Americans listening?
Anytime Estimate surveyed 1,000 people across the U.S. and found that 87% of Americans believe climate change poses a risk to the world, with nearly two-thirds of the country (65%) considering it a "serious" risk.
Although various U.S. policy topics are competing for attention, environmental issues seem to be gaining traction as a priority for Americans.
In mid-August, the federal government enacted what's expected to be the most significant investment to address climate change in the country's history, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
The bill comes at a time when 73% of Americans say they'd like to see the U.S. take more action against climate change, according to our survey.
Overall, about 7 in 10 Americans say it's not too late to address climate change, and 4 in 5 say they're willing to make personal sacrifices to help.
Read on to learn more about American opinions on climate change.
🌎 Key Stats: Climate Change Survey
87% of Americans Are Concerned About Climate Change
The vast majority of Americans (94%) believe in climate change. Nearly 9 in 10 respondents (87%) say climate change poses a risk to the world, with about two-thirds considering it a serious risk:
- I believe climate change poses a serious risk (65%).
- I believe climate change poses a small risk (22%).
- I believe climate change doesn't pose any risk (7%).
- I don't believe in climate change (6%).
About 3 in 4 Americans say their views on climate change impact the way they vote in elections:
- A big impact (40%)
- A small impact (36%)
- No impact (25%)
Uninhabitable? A Majority of Americans Believe Climate Will Force People to Abandon Earth
Many Americans worry that the consequences of climate change could render Earth uninhabitable. Nearly 3 in 5 Americans (57%) believe climate change will force humanity to leave Earth in search of a new home within the next 500 years.
About 68% of Gen Z respondents believe climate change will force migration to other planets, compared to 62% of millennials and 45% of baby boomers.
Although most Americans can imagine a future without Earth, many remain hopefully optimistic — 69% are confident that it's not too late to address climate change.
Why Do Some Americans Not Believe in Climate Change?
About 6% of respondents say they don't believe in climate change. The most common reason skeptics provide is a belief that it's a made-up political issue:
- It's a made-up political issue (43%).
- It's a natural cycle of the Earth and not caused by humans (40%).
- I have not personally felt the effects of climate change (20%).
- I don't think the science is settled (12%).
- Some other reason (22%)
Most Americans Who Believe in Climate Change Say the Threat Is Already Here
A majority of Americans (59%) who do believe in climate change say the consequences are already taking place. Meanwhile, about 1 in 5 Americans (18%) say the consequences aren't currently being felt but will be in their lifetime:
- The effects are already being felt (59%).
- The effects will be felt in my lifetime (18%).
- The effects won't be felt in my lifetime but in the next 100 years (12%).
- The effects will be felt more than 100 years from now (10%).
Among those who believe in climate change, the effects that concern the highest share of Americans are rising temperatures (59%) and increased natural disasters (59%):
- Rising global temperatures (59%)
- Increased natural disasters (59%)
- Lack of clean water (58%)
- Loss of wildlife/species becoming extinct (55%)
- Lack of food/starvation (53%)
- Rising sea levels (49%)
- Increase in plagues/pandemics (43%)
- Rise in global conflict/wars (39%)
- Human extinction (34%)
- Mass human migration (32%)
- Increased property damage (29%)
7 in 10 Americans Say It's Not Too Late to Combat Climate Change
Although Americans express concerns about climate change, most remain optimistic about the possibility of averting extreme consequences.
About 69% of respondents say they are confident there's still time to address climate change, while only 11% say they aren't confident.
It's not too late to combat climate change
Future generations will help fight climate change
My individual efforts can help combat climate change
Structural overhauls will have the biggest impact on climate change
I will be able to live on a healthy planet
Actions taken internationally will do enough to combat climate change
My children / future generations will live on a healthy planet
Actions taken by the U.S. will do enough to combat climate change
My home will not be impacted by climate change
I will not be impacted by serious natural disasters
My life will not be impacted by climate change
Nearly 3 in 4 Americans Want the U.S. to Do More to Combat Climate Change
No matter how Americans expect climate change to affect them, three-fourths (73%) say they'd like the U.S. to do more to halt climate change.
Nearly half of Americans (49%) say they want the U.S. to do "much more," followed by "somewhat more" (24%), "about the same" (15%), and less (13%).
Only 1 in 4 Americans, However, Support Raising Taxes to Address Climate Change
Most Americans want the U.S. to do more — but there is less consensus on what, exactly, they'd like the U.S. to do more of.
Although many support conserving oceans (56%) and investing in renewable energy (52%), far fewer Americans support raising taxes to fund initiatives to address climate change (26%).
Of 12 suggested methods to combat climate change, raising taxes was the least-selected response:
- Conserving forests and land (59%)
- Conserving oceans and other bodies of water (54%)
- Investing in renewable energy (52%)
- Tax breaks for buying solar panels (47%)
- Reducing use of coal and fossil fuels (47%)
- Investing in green businesses and jobs (44%)
- Implementing fees for pollution / carbon emission (40%)
- Tax breaks for buying electric / hybrid vehicles (40%)
- Regulating carbon (39%)
- Joining international climate pacts (37%)
- Reducing drilling for oil (36%)
- Increasing taxes to fund efforts to limit climate change (26%)
Gen Z respondents are slightly more likely to support a tax increase (31%) than millennials (26%) and baby boomers (28%).
Meanwhile, baby boomers are 38% more likely than Gen Z to support investing in renewables and 53% more likely to support conserving oceans.
Other Countries Do Better at Combating Climate Change, Americans Say
Americans have fairly consistent views about how other countries approach climate change. For example, Americans believe Canada is doing the best job of combating climate change compared to the U.S., while Russia is doing the worst.
Americans view their own country's performance as falling somewhere between Japan and Brazil.
Respondents were asked to identify which countries are doing better or worse than the U.S. in combating climate change. The net score shows the share of people who selected "better," subtracted by the share of people who selected "worse."
4 in 5 Americans Say They'd Make Personal Sacrifices to Fight Climate Change
Although Americans want their country to do more, they don't expect the government to do all of the heavy lifting. About 80% of Americans say they'd be willing to make changes to their lifestyle to combat climate change.
Respondents selected sacrifices they'd be willing to make and ones they already practice. For example, only 14% of respondents own a hybrid or electric car, but 37% would be willing to own one.
The table below shows the differences:
Avoid wasting food
Use fewer plastic products
Use less electricity
Reduce amount of water I use
Buy/eat local products
Buy used goods (e.g., clothes, electronics, etc.)
Avoid single-use products
Use renewable energy
Eat less meat/animal products
Buy more from ethical/green companies
Grow my own produce
Vote for green policies
Own a hybrid or electric car
Buy/eat organic products
Walk/bike instead of drive
Take public transportation instead of drive
Choose to bank with companies that don't invest in non-green initiatives such as fossil fuels
*This column shows how much more likely Americans are to say they would do something than already do it.
Some interesting generational differences emerged. Gen Z is 134% more likely to report using renewable energy than baby boomers, but 77% less likely to report limiting their electricity usage.
Unsurprisingly, respondents who don't believe in climate change are less likely to say they make personal sacrifices. However, nearly half of them (47%) still report recycling.
Real Estate: Half of Americans Believe Climate Change Impacts Will Make Homes More Expensive
Many expect climate change to touch most aspects of life, and housing is no different. More than 9 in 10 Americans (93%) believe climate change will impact the real estate market.
The most common impact people expect to see is an increase in utility costs, such as electricity and water (60%). About half of Americans (50%) expect homes to become more expensive in general:
- Utilities (electricity, water) will become more expensive (60%)
- More homes will be destroyed / damaged in natural disasters (53%)
- Home insurance will cost more (53%)
- Homes will become more expensive (50%)
- People will move from high-risk areas (49%)
- Home insurance will be harder to secure (42%)
- Climate change will not impact the real estate industry (7%)
Most Americans (93%) say they would pay more to buy a home that is safer from climate-related risks, such as natural disasters. The average additional amount respondents would spend is roughly $30,000:
- $0 (7%)
- $1,000 to $29,000 (46%)
- $30,000 to $59,000 (31%)
- $60,000 to $99,000 (13%)
- $100,000 (4%)
Additionally, 67% of Americans say they would be willing to buy a home near, or in view of, a windmill farm.
Despite some level of willingness to pay more, owning a home that's safe from disasters remains somewhat low on Americans' list of home-buying priorities.
Despite Climate Fears, Most Americans Would Buy a Home in a High-Risk Area
About 63% of Americans remain open to buying a home in an area of relatively high disaster risk. That includes 1 in 5 who would take the gamble if they could get a good deal on the purchase.
Americans say they would buy a home in a high-risk area:
- If they could get a good deal (18%)
- If they liked the area (13%)
- If there were no recent disasters (13%)
- If the home was new (8%)
- Nothing could convince them to buy a home in a high-risk area (37%)
Homeowners are slightly more likely than non-homeowners to buy in a high-risk area, possibly because of previous experience with environmental costs and impacts.
About 1 in 8 respondents (12%) say they aren't concerned about buying a home in a high-risk area.
Home Buyers Prioritize Cost Over Avoiding Natural Disasters
Americans say saving money is their biggest home-buying priority. Respondents ranked their top priority as buying in an area with a low cost of living followed by low home prices:
- Low cost of living
- Home prices
- Proximity to family
- Avoiding environmental disaster or extreme weather occurrences
- Proximity to amenities or popular areas
- Home insurance prices
Despite disaster risk ranking in the lower half of priorities, 3 in 5 Americans (61%) say disasters have played some role in deciding where to move.
The following environmental risks are the most common people consider when relocating:
- Extreme temperatures (24%)
- Hurricanes (24%)
- Flooding (23%)
- Tornados (21%)
- Earthquakes (21%)
- Wildfires (20%)
- Air pollution (20%)
- Extreme winter weather / blizzards (17%)
- Drought (16%)
- Tsunamis (13%)
- Environmental factors have never influenced my decision to relocate (39%)
The proprietary data featured in this study comes from an online survey commissioned by Anytime Estimate. One thousand Americans were surveyed July 27, 2022. Each respondent answered up to 21 questions related to climate change.
About Anytime Estimate
Stay on top of your money, around the clock. Since 2009, Anytime Estimate's straightforward calculators and expert articles have simplified mortgages, refinancing, and other real estate costs — fast. In 2021, Anytime Estimate was acquired by Clever Real Estate, a free agent-matching service that has helped consumers save more than $82 million on real estate fees. Research by Anytime Estimate's Data Center has been cited by The New York Times, CNBC, MarketWatch, NPR, Apartment Therapy, Yahoo Finance, Black Enterprise, and more.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Climate Change Opinions
About 94% of Americans believe in climate change. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe climate change poses a serious risk to the world (65%). Learn more.
About 6% of respondents say they don't believe in climate change. The most common reason they cite is a belief that the issue is made up for political purposes (43%). Learn more.
About 3 in 4 Americans say they'd like the U.S. to do more to combat climate change. Just over one-fourth (26%) say they would support increased taxes to address the issue. Learn more.
Pew Research. "For the first time, environmental protection rivals the economy among the public’s top policy priorities." Accessed Aug. 24, 2022. Updated 2020.
CNBC. "Inflation Reduction Act could curb climate damages by up to $1.9 trillion, White House says." Accessed Aug. 24, 2022. Updated Aug. 24, 2022.