Climate Change in the Latino Mind

Report Summary


Para leer el reporte en español, haga clic aquí.

This report focuses on a critical demographic in the United States – Latinos. Currently 17% of the U.S. population (more than 58 million people) and the second-largest racial/ethnic group in the nation, Latinos are a fast-growing demographic projected to reach 24% of the population by 2065, while non-Latino whites will decrease from 62% of the current population to 46% in 2065. Currently, nearly two out of three Latinos were born in the U.S. (65%), 68% speak English well, while 73% speak Spanish at home (e.g., many are bilingual). Politically, more than 27 million Latinos are currently eligible to vote, and Latinos are already a critical block of voters in local, state, and national elections, especially in swing states such as Colorado, Florida, and Nevada (Pew Research Center).

In May 2017, we conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,054 English and Spanish-speaking Latinos to investigate their current climate change knowledge, risk perceptions, policy support, behaviors, motivations, and barriers to political action.

Overall, we find a very consistent pattern: Latinos are much more engaged with the issue of global warming than are non-Latinos. Latinos are more convinced global warming is happening and human-caused, more worried about it, perceive greater risks, are more supportive of climate change policies, and are more willing to get involved politically. Within the Latino community, we find another consistent pattern: while Latinos, generally, are more engaged with the issue of global warming than are non-Latinos, Spanish-language Latinos are even more engaged than English-language Latinos.


This report is based on findings from two surveys conducted concurrently in the Unites States:

Results for Latinos (including both English- and Spanish-language Latinos) are based on a nationally representative survey of Latinos in the U.S. conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication ( For the purposes of this study, Latinos are defined as individuals living in the United States who self-identify as a member of one of the following groups: Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Cuban American, or “some other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino group.” Interview dates: May 18 – June 8, 2017. Interviews: 2,054 Latino adults (18+). Respondents chose whether to take the survey in English or Spanish. Results are reported for English- and Spanish-language preference according to respondents’ survey language choice. Average margins of error at the 95% confidence level: All Latinos +/- 2 percentage points; English-Language Latinos (1,256) +/- 3 percentage points; Spanish-Language Latinos (798) +/- 4 percentage points. The research was funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Results for non-Latinos are based on findings from a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults – Climate Change in the American Mind – conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication ( and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication ( Interview dates: May 18 – June 6, 2017. Interviews: 1,266 adults (18+), including the 1,140 non-Latinos used in this report. Average margin of error for non-Latinos +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This study was funded by the 11th Hour Project, the Energy Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.