National Survey Reveals U.S. Students' Concerns about Population and Environment Issues

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A national student survey conducted in recent months by Negative Population Growth (NPG) in classrooms throughout America has revealed a worrisome complacence about critical population and environmental issues that will impact the future of many young people. The survey results were compiled from a questionnaire distributed by hundreds of 9th-12th grade teachers in classrooms across the nation.

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A national student survey conducted in recent months by Negative Population Growth (NPG) in classrooms throughout America has revealed a worrisome complacence about critical population and environmental issues that will impact the future of many young people. The survey results were compiled from a questionnaire distributed by hundreds of 9th-12th grade teachers in classrooms across the nation.

Examination of student answers revealed a “mixed” level of worry about the United States with its current population of 315 million, being on a trajectory to reach a population of more than 400 million people by mid-century.

NPG President Don Mann assessed the survey by stating: “This survey is informatively revealing in two ways: First, it shows that our nation’s young people are quite attuned to today’s environmental and demographic dangers and it reveals that our nation must work harder to make students even more environmentally-conscious about what the future will bring if we fail to take immediate action to avert major crises.”

In compiling a random sample of returned surveys, NPG tabulated these results on the following key questions:

  • If we stay on track with the present rate of population growth, America will add 90 to 100 million more people (almost 1/3 of the number of people who live here now) by the time you are 40-50 years old. How concerned are you about living in such an overcrowded nation? Very Concerned: 25%, Somewhat concerned: 43%, Not very concerned: 23%, No Opinion: 5%;
  • How worried are you that an ever-increasing population will continue to use up the Earth’s limited reserves of fresh water, fertile soil, forests and fisheries? Very Worried: 29%, Somewhat worried: 38%, Not too worried: 20%, No Opinion: 13%;
  • Do you believe people should do all they can to solve the world’s environmental problems even if it proves to be a very costly endeavor? Yes: 55%, No: 12%, No Opinion: 33%;
  • Do you think America’s schools should put more emphasis on teaching about the consequences of population growth? Yes: 35%, No: 33%, No Opinion: 32%;
  • Do you feel that future Americans in the 22nd century potentially living in an environmentally-damaged nation would be right or wrong to think that we did not care enough to put limits on population growth to keep environmental problems from spinning out of control? Right: 45%, Wrong: 22%, No Opinion: 33%.

In addition to the above results, the NPG Student Survey found that a large majority
of students are most concerned about climate change and water quality; would like to see solar and wind energy replace oil, gas and nuclear energy; and believe that the government at all levels should be stricter in forcing people to protect the environment.

The 2017 Student Survey was the first taken by NPG in its 45-year history and was part of NPG’s extensive nationwide educational and classroom outreach operations. For further information about Negative Population Growth go to http://www.NPG.org

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Craig Lewis
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