Examining the Sociodemographic Bases of Environmental Concern: An Analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey



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The goal of this study has been to evaluate data from the 2016 General Social Survey (GSS) in order to examine the association between sociodemographic variables, political orientation, and level of environmental concern. Recent research has indicated a shift in the sociodemographic bases of environmental concern, which illustrates the need for continued research in this area. The current study is guided by questions regarding which sociodemographic groups are most concerned with the environment and whether or not religion and political orientation are correlated with environmental concern. In order to answer these questions, ordinal logistic regression models were built for each dependent variable to determine which independent variables have a statistically significant effect on each dependent variable. The expectation was that the 2016 GSS data would remain consistent with past research indicating that younger, female, well-educated, non-white, lower income, and politically liberal respondents are more likely to be concerned about environmental issues. It was found that individuals with a moderate to liberal political orientation were more likely to have higher levels of environmental concern, consistent with past research. However, the results for other sociodemographic groups varied considerably across each of the nine ordinal logistic regression models.



attitudes towards the environment, environmental attitudes, environmental concern, social bases, social perception, sociodemographic factors