New York City: Climate change

For Opinium’s inaugural New York State of Mind Survey, we asked 1,000 New Yorkers (across all 5 boroughs) about their experiences living in what many call “the greatest city in the world.” Twice yearly, our team will dig deep into what New Yorkers think, feel, and do. This enables us to understand the most exciting and urgent issues facing New Yorkers today.

Here, we explore one of the most critical concerns that came to light in the survey: attitudes towards Climate change in New York City as of July 2023. This report provides an overview of our findings on this topic and emphasizes the extent to which this problem impacts New Yorkers.

Over eight in ten New Yorkers are concerned about climate change

The majority of New Yorkers are concerned about climate change. Over eight in ten (84%) adults in New York City report being worried about climate change, and 46% report being very worried. Only 11% of New Yorkers report not being worried at all. While the majority of both male and female New Yorkers are worried about climate change, females are more likely to be worried (87%) than males  (81%).

Concern over climate change remains fairly consistent over generations, with 84% of Gen Z being worried about climate change, 86% of Millennials, 85% of Gen X, and 82% of Boomers.

Over half of New Yorkers think NYC is more polluted than other cities

The majority of New Yorkers (54%) report feeling that New York City is more polluted than other US cities. This sentiment is most popular among younger generations (65% of Gen Z and 60% of Millennials) in comparison to older generations (55% of Gen X and 44% of Boomers).

A little less than a third (31%) of New Yorkers feel that pollution in New York City is about the same as pollution in other cities, and only 8% believe New York City is less polluted than other cities.

Parents are most concerned about climate change making NYC an unsafe place to live

In addition to concern about climate change in general, 85% of New Yorkers report being concerned about climate change making NYC an unsafe place to live. New Yorkers are fairly split between being very concerned (41%) and somewhat concerned (43%), and only 10% are not at all concerned. Understandably, New Yorkers who have children are more likely to be concerned (93%) than those who don’t (81%).

Majority of New Yorkers support new bill that would require residents to sort food waste

Nearly three in five (58%) New York City adults claim that they support a bill drafted in the efforts of curbing climate change. The bill, which would go into effect within the next year, would require New York City residents to separate food waste from regular trash. The goal is to reduce the amount of methane, a gas that traps heat in earth’s atmosphere, that is released when food waste gets sent to traditional landfills.

Support for the bill raises consistently with income, with 71% of New York City residents with an income of $100,000 or more supporting the bill, compared to 54% of those with an income of less than $100,000.