As a result of increasing sea levels, severe droughts, and other climate change impacts, millions of people around the globe are already fleeing their homes. However, a recent investigation shows that this migration also occurs inside the United States since certain regions are becoming practically uninhabitable due to severe weather.
According to a survey by the First Street Foundation, which focuses on so-called “climate abandonment regions,” or places where the local population declined between 2000 and 2020 because of dangers associated with climate change, over 3.2 million Americans have fled their homes as a result of the increasing likelihood of floods.
Many of those places are located in regions that have also had a migratory boom in the last 20 years, including Sun Belt states like Texas and Florida. The study discovered that as populations shrink, property prices and municipal services also fall, putting these towns in danger of an economic downturn.
The research was published in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications journal and found that even among the fastest-growing metro regions in the country, there are climate abandonment zones.
The data revealed that throughout the previous 20 years, the population of about 513 counties grew at a faster-than-average rate. However, it also included communities that saw population loss in flood-prone regions.
Three regions contain the majority of such areas:
-Along the Texas Gulf Coast
-Section of the Atlantic Ocean between New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
-A large portion of Beaches
San Antonio and the rest of Bexar County, Texas, are among the hardest-hit communities. While the county saw a net gain of about 644,000 persons from 2000 to 2020, over 17% of its Census blocks had a population decline.
The survey also indicated that El Paso County in Texas and Will County in Illinois had the highest percentage of population relocation owing to flood risk.
Unexpectedly, the research discovered that Midwestern states, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, face some of the most significant risks of climate migration in the coming decades.