Living a Thriving and Fulfilling Life
To better understand how Americans feel about the current state of technology, policy, and quality of life, we asked them when would be the best time to be born. From last year’s poll to now we did not see large shifts, and over 40% of the population remains unsure of whether the future or the past would be a better place to live. Men reported the largest shift since last year with more men being sure about when would be the best time to live. Women on the other hand reported more uncertainty.
Since our last poll, Democrats are more sure about when would be the best time to live while Republicans are slightly less sure.
Energy and Environment
How likely do you think it is that the US will achieve energy too cheap to meter in the next 50 years?
Compared to 2022, Americans are more pessimistic about a future of cheap energy. Only 1 in 3 respondents thought it was very or somewhat likely that energy will be available too cheaply to meter in the US in the next 50 years.
Which best describes your view of how the US should respond to climate change?
Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (67%) think the US should reduce energy use, whether that energy comes from clean or traditional sources. Only 17% think the US should prioritize clean energy while also expanding energy use. Men were somewhat more in favor of increasing energy consumption than women.
A large majority of Democrats (67%) think the US should prioritize clean energy while reducing overall consumption. Only 2 out of 10 of Republicans supported that option (18%). The majority of Republican respondents were split nearly evenly between prioritizing traditional energy while reducing consumption (33%) or prioritizing traditional energy while increasing consumption (32%).
How important is it for the US to invest in and maintain its ability to supply its own energy, across the following aspects of the supply chain?
Respondents indicated that energy generation and research and development were the two most important areas for the US to invest in. Critical minerals had the least number of respondents who indicated that it was very important for the US to supply domestically, although a majority of respondents (72%) still said it was somewhat or very important. Overall, Americans think it is important for the US to invest in and domestically supply each step of the supply chain.
What efforts should the US prioritize to ensure a clean and stable water supply?
Respondents were nearly evenly split on whether the US should prioritize improved water management (49%) or developing new water technologies (51%).
Out of every 100 people living in the United States, how many do you think were born outside of the US?
On average, people believe that there are more than twice as many immigrants in the country as there are. Respondents, regardless of political party, overestimate this proportion, averaging 34.6%. The US foreign-born population is about 15.5%, which is marked by the red line on the graph.
You might expect that those who voted for President Trump think that more people in the US are foreign-born than voters who voted for President Biden. However, there was no statistical difference between estimates from Trump and Biden voters.
What do you think is the primary reason that US companies hire immigrants?
About 2 out of 3 respondents believe that businesses hire immigrants because they will work for lower wages than natives. Compared to all other respondents, Republicans (72%) are more likely to respond that it’s because immigrants work for less than native workers, but the difference is only about six percentage points.
How important of an issue is immigration in the United States to you personally?
Overall, 2 out of 5 respondents say that they think immigration is personally a high priority. Differences by party affiliation exist. Republican respondents are much more likely to report that immigration is very important to them than are Democrats or Independents.
Immigration and economic success
Sixty-five percent of respondents say that high-skill immigration benefits the US economy. A bit more than 1 in 3 people, 41%, respond that immigration in general benefits the economy. In contrast, not even 1 in 3 respondents answered that low-skill immigration benefits the US economy, and only 1 in 5 believe refugees benefit the economy.
Technology and Innovation
Americans seem to be moderating their enthusiasm for technology and innovation. Compared to last year, there was a 5 point drop among Americans who answered “very good” to the question, “Do you think technological innovation is mainly a good thing or a bad thing for the US?”
Divided by political party, Democrats are nearly twice as likely to answer “very good” as Republicans. In a related question, Democrats were also more likely than Republicans to say that technology and innovation will help America deal with problems in the future.
Should the government favor innovation or safety?
Compared to 2022, Americans increasingly think the US government should favor safety over innovation. When comparing male and female responses on this question, males were more likely to favor innovation and females were more likely to favor safety. Among age cohorts, the older Americans became less sure which the government should favor and the oldest Americans 65+ thought safety should be the priority at the lowest rates.
Job displacement due to AI is perhaps the top concern for policymakers and economists studying AI. We asked Americans for their feelings on AI job displacement generally and then with their job in particular. The answers were very different. “Generally,” the majority of Americans are worried about AI displacement—either “somewhat” or “very worried.” However, when asked whether they are worried about their own job being displaced by AI, a majority of Americans are “not worried at all.”
We also asked Americans which fields they thought were most likely to be hurt or helped by AI adoption.
How important is AI to the nation’s future economic success?
Almost half (48%) believe AI is at least “somewhat important” to the economic success of America. With 1 out of 5 Americans “not sure.” Males, Democrats, and those with post-graduate education were the most likely to answer “important.”
Younger respondents were much more likely to say that AI is important to the future economic success of the United States.
As educational attainment increases so does the reported importance of AI in the nation’s economic future with around 60% of those with college degrees agreeing that AI is “important” to “somewhat important.”
On the same question, only Democrats broke the 50% threshold for believing AI is important to the economic success of the US.
The survey pool consists of 1,000 adult US respondents sampled from June 23-28, 2023. Specific results have not been tested to determine if they are statistically significant, but the data is weighted to be representative of the US population. Some numbers have been rounded to provide clarity. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.51 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.