Public Resource
Youth Concern About Climate Change Drives Civic Engagement
Sara Suzuki, Alberto Medina, and Peter de Guzman, Tufts University. Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

Climate change is a top issue for young people and presents opportunities for broader youth outreach. In 2020, nearly a third of young people named climate change as one of the top three issues that influenced their vote for president. Asian youth and young people in Western states are more likely to say climate change is one of their top issues. Young people who prioritize climate change as a political issue score higher on “civic readiness” than those who do not. CIRCLE’s 2020 pre-election poll of young people ages 18-29 found that 13% of all youth named climate change the top issue that would influence their vote for president—the highest of any issue. After the election, 74% of youth who voted for President Biden said they wanted him to prioritize leading a transition to renewable energy. Climate change is also potentially an important way to reach conservative youth. Among Trump voters, young voters aged 18-29 were more likely than older voters aged 45+ to care about climate change. There are also regional differences: young people in Western states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY) were disproportionately more likely to prioritize the environment and climate change as a political issue, which could be due to more direct experiences with droughts, wildfires, and other phenomena exacerbated by climate change.