Global Warming’s Six Americas

6 Americas Cartoons Slide

Artwork by Michael Sloan

One of the first rules of effective communication is to “know thy audience.” Climate change public engagement efforts must start with the fundamental recognition that people are different and have different psychological, cultural, and political reasons for acting – or not acting – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our research has identified “Global Warming’s Six Americas”: six unique audiences within the American public that each responds to the issue in their own distinct way.

Want to know which of the Six Americas you are in?  

Take the short Six Americas Quiz!


The Alarmed are convinced global warming is happening, human-caused, an urgent threat, and they strongly support climate policies. Most, however, do not know what they or others can do to solve the problem. The Concerned think human-caused global warming is happening, is a serious threat, and support climate policies. However, they tend to believe that climate impacts are still distant in time and space, thus climate change remains a lower priority issue. The Cautious haven’t not yet made up their minds: Is global warming happening? Is it human-caused? Is it serious? The Disengaged know little about global warming. They rarely or never hear about it in the media. The Doubtful do not think global warming is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk. The Dismissive believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., “global warming is a hoax”).

This bubble chart shows that, as of October 2023, the majority of Americans are either Alarmed or Concerned about global warming: 28% of Americans are Alarmed, 29% are Concerned, 15% are Cautious, 6% are Disengaged, 11% are Doubtful, and 11% are Dismissive. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Fall 2023.

The six audiences were first identified using a large nationally representative survey of American adults conducted in the fall of 2008. The survey questionnaire included extensive, in-depth measures of the public’s climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, motivations, values, policy preferences, behaviors, and underlying barriers to action. The Six Americas are distinguishable on all these dimensions, and display very different levels of engagement with the issue.

The Six Americas Over Time

Over the past ten years, the Alarmed have grown more than any other audience, nearly doubling in size from 15% in 2013 to 28% in 2023 (+13 percentage points). Conversely, the Cautious have decreased in size the most during that time, from 26% in 2013 to 15% in 2023 (-11 percentage points). Additionally, the percentage of Americans who are either Alarmed or Concerned has increased from 40% in 2013 to 56% in 2023 (+16 percentage points). The Disengaged and Dismissive audiences have remained relatively similar in size over the last decade. Overall, Americans are becoming more worried about global warming, more engaged with the issue, and more supportive of climate solutions.

This line chart shows how the sizes of the Six Americas segments have changed over the last decade using 22 nationally representative surveys of Americans spanning 2013-2023. The Alarmed segment has grown the most since 2013. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Fall 2023. Refer to the data tables in the Methods section in the Climate Note for all percentages.

Since 2008, we have conducted many additional studies on these six audiences, including:

The Six Americas framework is being used by climate educators and communicators throughout the United States, including local, state, and national governments, academic institutions, environmental organizations, businesses, faith groups, doctors and scientists, and the media.

For a quick introduction, please see our short video.