Aditi Mhaskar, Yan Cui, Monica Rosales, Elizabeth Rhoades, Megha Shah, Priyanka Fernandes
Demographic Predictors of Climate Change Perception in Los Angeles County, CA
Objectives: To assess concern for the impacts of climate change across demographic subpopulations of LA County and to examine associations between demographics and concern.
Methods: On the LA County Health Survey, we asked respondents to rate concern for more droughts, air pollution, health problems, wildfires, drinking water contamination, heat waves, diseases from mosquitos, flooding along coasts, and very heavy rainstorms on a Likert Scale. We performed descriptive analyses to examine characteristics of survey respondents and quantify concern about each specific impact. We also performed a multivariate logistic regression to evaluate associations between demographics and concern.
Results: A majority of respondents reported concern for each climate change impact, except for very heavy rainstorms. Respondents over 65 were less concerned about heat waves and more health problems from climate change. Male respondents had lower concern about heat waves, air pollution, diseases from mosquitos, very heavy rainstorms, and more health problems. Latino respondents were more likely to be concerned about air pollution and more diseases from mosquitos. Higher education level was associated with greater concern for droughts. Residents of Antelope Valley, an inland desert region, were less likely to be concerned about droughts and water shortages. Residents of the South Bay were also less likely to be concerned about droughts and water shortages, worse air pollution, and worse wildfires.
Conclusions: Concern for climate change is not uniform across LA County. Elderly Angelenos tend to have lower concern despite vulnerability, warranting intervention. Awareness among Latino Angelenos is relatively high, consistent with a known disproportionate burden of certain climate impacts. Mitigation efforts in communities of color should focus on reducing the environmental burden on residents and centering community members in planning.