The senior elderly, environmental risks, and generation gaps

Michael R. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Four surveys totaling over 5,000 U.S. residents in 2008 and 2010 were used to examine environmental risk perceptions of Americans 75+ years old compared to their younger counterparts. The senior elderly were less concerned about almost every environmental risk, especially water quality, loss of open space, traffic congestion and other chronic issues that they have lived with for many decades. Their concerns were much closer to the younger populations for acute environmental risk issues such as nuclear facility failures and natural hazard events. These differences in perception are related to more positive affect among the senior elderly (happy, good, great, and the colors green, blue and white), and their strong identification with the Democratic Party and social issues that began during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. The paper concludes with thoughts about policy implications and options to close gaps between the senior elderly and the larger US population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Ecology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Democratic Party
  • Elderly
  • Environmental issues
  • Risk perceptions


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