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Americans are less worried about each of eight specific environmental problems than they were a year ago, and on all but global warming and maintenance of the nation’s fresh water supply, concern is the lowest Gallup has measured. Americans worry most about drinking-water pollution and least about global warming.

2009-2010 Worry About Environmental Problems, and Changes in Worry

Over time, Americans’ concerns about environmental problems have generally declined. After this year’s drop, for six of the eight items, the percentage who worry “a great deal” is at the lowest point Gallup has measured, which in some cases dates to 1989. The two exceptions are global warming (low point was 24% in 1997) and maintenance of the nation’s fresh water supply for household needs (35% in 2001).

One major reason Americans may be less worried about environmental problems is that they perceive environmental conditions in the United States to be improving. […]

Bottom Line

Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years. That could be due in part to Americans’ belief that environmental conditions in the U.S. are improving. It also may reflect greater public concern about economic issues, which is usually associated with a drop in environmental concern. And greater action on environmental issues at the federal, state, and local levels may also contribute to a decline in Americans’ environmental worry.

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