Latinos, Asians more concerned about the environment than whites

Feb 28, 2011

California's Latino and Asian voters are significantly more concerned about core environmental issues, including global warming, air pollution and contamination of soil and water, than white voters, according to a Los Angeles Times/USC poll.

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The poll found that 50 percent of Latinos and 46 percent of Asians who responded to the poll said they personally worry a great deal about global warming, compared with 27 percent of whites. Two-thirds of Latinos and 51 percent of Asians polled said they worry a great deal about air pollution, compared with 31 percent of whites. Similarly, 85 percent of Latinos and 79 percent of Asians said they worry a great or a fair amount about contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, compared with 71 percent of whites.

About 69 percent of Latino voters and 49 percent of Asian voters polled said they personally worry a great deal about having enough water to meet future needs, compared with 40 percent of white voters, the poll found. 

Jason Padilla, 26, of Riverside said he was certain that minorities would become increasingly engaged in environmental issues.

"We're stepping up and saying, 'Hey, we live, hike, camp, fish and play here too," Padilla said. "We're getting involved to help make changes that are morally and ethically right and benefit everybody." 

Latinos make up 37 percent of the state's population, Asians are 12.5 percent, whites are 41.5 percent and African Americans are 5.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

California has one of the nation's largest concentrations of minorities living near hazardous chemical wastes and air pollution produced by refineries, port operations, freeway traffic and railroads. An analysis of census data by researchers at four universities showed that 1.2 million people in the greater Los Angeles area, 91 percent of them minorities, live less than two miles from facilities handling hazardous materials such as chrome-plating businesses and battery recycling centers.

Source: Los Angeles Times/USC,Latinos, Asians more worried about environment than whites, poll finds”, November 20, 2010.

By Norma De la Vega
Author - Broadcast Communications Specialist III