New York state of mind: climate change in NYC

Climate fears in New York City

Over 5.8 million New Yorkers worry that climate change will make the city unliveable

The majority of New Yorkers (84%) are worried about climate change in general, and a similar number (85%) are specifically worried that climate change will make New York City unsafe to live in. These fears are especially high for people who have children in their household — 93% of these individuals worry that climate change will make it unsafe to live in New York City.

However, New Yorkers have a negatively skewed perception of some climate issues. Half (54%) of New Yorkers believe that NYC is more polluted than other US cities. In reality, the New York City metro area is ranked 12th worst out of 227 metro areas for ozone pollution and 71 worst out of 200 metro areas for annual particle pollution. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago all rank worse for annual particle pollution than NYC.  

Compost legislation approval

Over half of New Yorkers support mandatory compost in NYC  

As of Spring 2025, all New York City residents will be required to separate food scraps and food-soiled paper from their general waste for citywide composting. Over half (58%) of NYC residents support this legislation, and only 16% oppose it. Manhattan dwellers are most likely to support the legislation, with seven in ten (70%) in approval. On the other side of the spectrum, those in Staten Island are most likely to oppose the legislation (26%).

Written by Naomi Horn, Research Analyst at Opinium.