Oct 15, 2021 - Science

Americans perceive a rise in extreme weather, Pew finds

Map of the U.S. showing the percentage of adults who say they have seen extreme weather in the past year.
Data: Pew Research; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Americans are taking notice of extreme weather events, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Details: Two-thirds of Americans say extreme weather events in the U.S. have been occurring more frequently than in the past, while only 28% said they've been taking place about as often, and just 4% perceiving a dropoff in frequency.

  • So far in 2021, the U.S. has seen a record 18 billion dollar extreme weather events.
  • When it comes to extreme weather events in their backyards, 46% of U.S. adults say the area where they live has had an extreme weather event over the past year.
  • The area with the greatest number of people reporting an extreme weather event was the South Central Census Division. It includes Louisiana, a state hit hard by Hurricane Ida and heavy rainfall events.

Yes, but: Even on perceptions of extreme weather events, there is a partisan split, the survey found, with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents more likely to report experiencing extreme weather than Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

  • The survey of 10,371 Americans took place from Sept. 13–19, 2021, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.
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