Public policy and the geography of U.S. environmentalism

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Objective. The geography of U.S. environmentalism is under-studied, yet it is politically relevant in our federal system. This article begins to fill that gap with behavioral data. Methods. This research analyzes the geographical distribution of environmental group members among the fifty U.S. states, and by zip code within one state to check for scale dependence. It uses the variation in explanatory factors across jurisdictions to explore the correlates of organized environmentalism. Results. Group membership rates show dramatic variation across states, with some convergence over time, and are generally higher in states with better environmental conditions and higher incomes. Membership rates for certain groups in this diverse movement correlate well with aggressive state environmental policies. Conclusions. The heterogeneous geography of organized environmentalism is relevant in the decentralized U.S. federal political system. Although measures of activism and attitudes are not directly comparable, this diversity contrasts with survey data showing homogeneous national environmental attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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