Americans Are Moving Toward Climate Risk

More Americans are ignoring the realities of climate change emigrating—even as more and more climate refugees flee the damage.

2 minute read

September 1, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Florida Climate Change

meunierd / Shutterstock

[Updated September 1, 2021] Lily Katz and Sebastian Sandoval-Olascoaga share insight from a recent analysis by Redfin that finds Americans moving toward the devastation of climate change.

Among the key findings of the analysis, which uses data from the climate-data startup ClimateCheck to calculate climate risk: "The U.S. counties with the largest share of homes facing high heat, drought, fire, flood and storm risk saw their populations grow from 2016-2020 due to migration."

The report further describes that population growth as the result of positive net migration.

It's possible that in some cases, the heat in those fast-growing cities could be part of the reason housing prices are low.

The analysis also finds that the least risky locations, from a climate change standpoint, are experiencing population decline.

The 50 U.S. counties with the largest share of homes facing high heat risk saw their populations increase by an average of 4.7% from 2016 through 2020 due to positive net migration. Meanwhile, the 50 counties with the largest percentage of homes facing high drought, fire, flood and storm risk experienced average population growth of 3.5%, 3%, 1.9% and 0.4%, respectively, due to positive net migration.

Only the 50 counties facing increased storm risks grew during the same period—at a rate of 0.9 percent.

These large trends in migration are happening despite the nation's first climate refugees are already on the move at large scales. A paper published in September 2020 completed the largest ever mapping project to plot the high- and low-risk locations in the country in a future defined by climate change.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 in Redfin

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