Precisely half of people who live in major U.S. metro areas say climate change will affect their homes or communities in their lifetimes, according to the Zillow Housing Aspirations Report.[i] The other half says it won't have much impact while they're alive.
While they're divided about the near-term effects of climate change, they share common ground regarding how the issue should be addressed: Taxes are nearly universally unappealing, while a surprising majority think we should stop building in high-risk areas or make structural changes to homes.
Young adults and people who live in coastal metros are the most likely to anticipate their lives will be affected by climate change.
Most young adults expect climate change to affect them personally
Not surprisingly, young adults are the most likely to perceive they will be affected by climate change. Almost two-thirds of 18- to 34-year-olds say their homes or communities will be affected either "somewhat" or "a great deal" in their lifetimes, compared to about half of 35- to 54-year-olds and 39% of those 55 and older.
Coastal areas anticipate the most impact
People in Miami and San Jose, Calif., top the list of metros who say climate change have more than a minor impact on them – not surprising given that sea-level rise is already affecting Miami and that wildfires have plagued California in recent years.
Midwest respondents are the least likely to say they will be affected, although their numbers are still substantial: 40% in St. Louis and 43% in Detroit think climate change will have an impact on their home or community over their lives.
Consensus on a fix: Stop building, but don't increase my taxes
What the country disagrees on regarding effects, it makes up for in agreement over possible fixes.
On both sides of the political spectrum, most respondents support laws that would restrict building in high-risk areas: 78% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans and 70% who identify as independent voiced support, making it the option chosen by the largest share of respondents in each political group.
The majority also support making structural improvements to homes or enacting policies that require homeowners in high-risk areas to buy disaster insurance.
What they don't want, the majority agree, is for higher taxes to fund infrastructure such as seawalls or relocation for the most at-risk communities. Only about a quarter (27%) support increasing taxes to pay for relocation while 42% would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund infrastructure.
Young adults support more climate change solutions
Younger adults support a wider variety of initiatives to address the impacts of climate change. More than half of people ages 18 to 34 could get behind anything but raising taxes to relocate at-risk communities – although they favored that option more than other age groups.
[i] A semiannual survey conducted by Ipsos of 10,000 homeowners and renters in 20 of the country's largest metro areas.
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