Abstract Recent research suggests that consumption-based measures offer an insightful perspective on the debate on the relationship between economic growth and the environment. In this article we deepen the consumption-based line of inquiry by investigating the empirical evidence in support of the environmental Kuznets hypothesis using 2001 ecological footprint data for 141 countries. We perform Ordinary Least Squares and Weighted Least Squares analysis on linear, quadratic and cubic functions, in standard and logarithmic specifications, as candidate models to represent the relationship between per capita income and environmental pressure. We replicate the cross country analysis also by estimating the regression function directly, through a nonparametric regression. In our analyses, with and without weighing data by population, the results do not show evidence of de-linking.