Trump wants to buy Greenland. Only one-third of Americans would be willing to offer more than $12 for the island.

Bob Bryan
greenland

Lucas Jackson/Reuters


  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of buying Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark.
  • While officials from Greenland and Denmark have publicly lambasted the idea, the American public doesn't seem to be a fan of it either.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents in a new INSIDER poll of Americans said they would not pay anything to acquire Greenland, and just one-third of respondents said they would pay more than $12.
  • Sixty-nine percent said they would not pay above $100, and only 17% of Americans said they would offer the same amount President Harry Truman offered in 1946: $100 million.
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Americans don't seem particularly interested in buying Greenland unless the price tag is cheap — really cheap.

President Donald Trump has expressed interest in purchasing the icy island from Denmark, according to multiple reports, but a new INSIDER poll found that few Americans would be willing to pony up for Greenland.

In fact, 61% of respondents said they would not spend a cent to acquire Greenland, and just one-third of respondents said they would be willing to go above $12.

According to reports, Trump has asked advisers to look into the feasibility of buying the island. The president apparently has interest in acquiring the island for its natural resources and strategic geopolitical location.

Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark and home to about 56,000 people. The island is also home to Thule Air Base, the US's northernmost military base.

Read more: Trump wants to buy Greenland. It's not for sale, but it would be really expensive if it were.

While representatives for Denmark and Greenland have roundly dismissed the idea of selling the island, INSIDER asked people that, presuming it was even possible, what was the "maximum amount of federal funds you would be comfortable authorizing to spend purchasing Greenland from the Kingdom of Denmark?"

Of the 1,092 respondents to the poll, 743 volunteered a value that could be converted into a viable dollar figure. The others skipped the question, disputed its premise, or said they didn't know. We're going to focus on those who provided a viable response.

And as we mentioned, a large majority of those respondents weren't too keen on blowing the bank for the island. Sixty-nine percent said they would pay less than $100 for Greenland, while 71% wouldn't go over the average price of a used car: $20,000.

And for the price of the median US home ($220,000)? Forget it, only 27% of Americans said they'd pay more than that price for Greenland's 836,300 square miles of territory.

Trump isn't the first US president to think about buying the autonomous territory. Harry Truman offered $100 million in gold for the island back in 1946, which was rejected at the time. Even without adjusting for inflation, only 17% of Americans in our survey said they would be willing to pay at least that amount for Greenland.

Truman's offer represented about $1.3 billion in today's dollars. But that amount was a nonstarter for 89% of Americans.

As mentioned, the median proposed authorized sales price was $0. Even setting aside the majority of values, which were zero, among the respondents who offered a positive dollar value the median amount authorized was just $17 million.

That's about 3% of what Denmark spends on the territory annually.

Read more: Trump said he wanted to buy Greenland and people are very, very confused

While it's hard to value the island, the Financial Times' Alphaville blog (jokingly) estimated Greenland's value at $1.1 trillion. But good luck trying to get Americans to swallow that (fake) sale price; just 2% of respondents would go above $1 trillion.

Among the nonnumerical responses, many respondents rejected the idea outright or deemed the purchase of Greenland impossible. But one enterprising person proposed a creative method of acquisition.

"I would trade Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina," the outside-the-box thinker replied.

Who says no?

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. Total 1,092 respondents collected August 16-17, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.06 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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