One in 10 Americans say climate change is the most important issue in America right now

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
January 28, 2021, 2:50 PM UTC

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders designed to curb the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and create jobs in the clean energy sector. Biden emphasized that curbing climate change is a vital issue to him, saying, “We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer.” 

Most Americans (71%) agree that the issue of climate change is important. In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, one in 10 Americans (10%) see “climate change and the environment” as the most important issue facing the country right now. It trails behind “health care” (23%) and “jobs and the economy” (23%) for Americans overall.  

For 18-to 29-year-olds, climate change and the environment (17%) is tied with healthcare (17%) as the most important issue. Younger Americans are the most likely to pick climate change, compared to 6% of 30-to 44-year-olds, 8% of 45-to 64-year-olds, and 13% of those over 65.

About three in 10 Americans over 65 (28%) choose health care as their priority — the most likely age demographic to highlight it. A plurality of working age Americans between 30 and 64-years-old (30%) care the most about jobs and the economy, although 18-to 29-year-olds much less likely to do so (14%). 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between January 24 - 26, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.7% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty