People

PEOPLE

Individual extreme weather events can trigger an exodus of displaced people searching for a new home—in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for example, about a quarter million people were displaced from New Orleans—but many others are driven by environments increasingly hostile to the life they once knew. For example, in South America, Southeast Asia, and North Africa, people relying on farming are abandoning their homes as crop failure increases The influx of people from Central America and Mexico to the US in the coming decades will correlate with the extent of climate warming. A scenario in which modest action is taken to reduce emissions would see about 680,000 migrants coming to the US border; an unabated increase in emissions raises that number to more than one million, and these exclude undocumented immigrants.

Links between mass migration, political instability, and social upheaval have been well-documented. This is one of the reasons that climate change is considered a “threat multiplier” in terms of national security with its potential to tip a society on the brink into conflict. This is an example of another feedback loop in the climate change process: changed environmental conditions spur both conflict and migration; conflict and migration continually reinforce one another.

Migration, like all other climate change consequences, is charged with cruel inequities. On the local level, it is causing residents to shift between neighborhoods within individual cities as, for example, wealthy Miami residents flee the coastline for quickly-developing hilltop neighborhoods like Liberty City, which used to be a predominantly black neighborhood whose long-time residents are finding their lives suddenly unaffordable.

CURRENT NEWS

Climate migration amplifies demographic change and population aging

By Mathew E. Hauer and others 01/08/24
We project climate migration driven by sea-level rise through 2100 in the United States, incorporating fertility and gravity effects to capture secondary population processes, which we call “demographic amplification.” Failure to include these indirect effects…
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‘A Beautiful Place That Has a Dragon’: Where Hurricane Risk Meets Booming Growth

By Aatish Bhatia 11/19/23
The hurricanes keep coming, and the people, too: The fastest-growing places along the Atlantic coast this century are also among the most hurricane-prone. Between 2016 and 2022, the five hurricanes that hit the Carolinas cost…
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Tiny Climate Crises Are Adding Up to One Big Disaster

By Nancy Walecki 11/01/23
The Louisiana wildfire that upended Katie Henderson’s life was barely a blip on this year’s string of catastrophes. On August 24, just after she’d brought her 7-year-old son home from school, she spotted a red…
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Cities are advertising themselves as ‘climate havens.’ Experts say there’s no such thing

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech 09/07/23
As the consequences of the planet warming grow ever more apparent, some cities are marketing themselves as “climate havens,” or refuges from extreme climate conditions. But experts agree that no city, state or region of…
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What Happens When the Rich Abandon the Hot, Dangerous Places?

By MartinEdic 09/03/23
To clearly understand what it going on with the climate in your region, and to understand how it may impact your life choices, next week, next season, and in the years to come, it helps…
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Looking for a US ‘climate haven’ away from heat and disaster risks? Good luck finding one

By Julie Arbit and Others 08/23/23
“My family has owned my home since the ‘60s. … Even when my dad was a kid and lived there, no floods, no floods, no floods, no floods. Until [2021],” one southeast Michigan resident told…
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Column: As Lahaina mourns tragedy, another crisis is coming

By Anita Chabria 08/11/23
She’s the chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and she was evacuated from a mountain enclave during the recent blazes — waking up at 3 a.m. to the blare of a cellphone alert. She…
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Americans Are Moving Toward Climate Danger in Search of Cheaper Homes

By Leslie Kaufman 07/24/23
A midsummer quiz: Let’s say you read about an area experiencing blistering heat for weeks on end. Heat so hot that in the day, you can’t go outside, and at nighttime it’s still above 90F.…
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Climate migrants find a home in the Great Lakes Region

By Kristen Pope 07/21/23
A massive Category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Maria, was bearing down on Puerto Rico. In Buffalo, New York, people watching the news were worried. Many had loved ones on the island, and many had spent time…
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Seniors are migrating to states that face America’s most extreme heat

By Joshua Partlow, Greg Morton, Scott Dance and Brianna Sacks 07/19/23
It was 6:15 p.m., 110 degrees, the speakers were playing “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner and the seniors of suburban Phoenix were blissfully arm-pumping their way around the walking pool.
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30% Of Americans Cite Climate Change As A Motivator To Move In 2023

By Samantha Allen 05/17/23
The impact of climate change and irregular weather patterns has caused 64% of Americans surveyed to cite climate change or better weather as a reason to move this year.
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Retreat in Rodanthe

By Jahi Chikwendiu 03/13/23
Along three blocks in a North Carolina beach town, severe erosion is upending life, forcing hard choices and offering a glimpse of the dilemmas other coastal communities will face
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KEY RESOURCES

Report On The Impact Of Climate Change On Migration

10/31/21
The climate crisis is reshaping our world, as the Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization. Defined by changes in average weather conditions that persist over…

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States

11/28/20
According to new data from the Rhodium Group analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures and changing rainfall will drive agriculture and temperate climates northward, while sea level rise will consume…

The Great Climate Migration

07/23/20
This article, the first in a series on global climate migration, is a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center.

iDMC

06/29/20
To provide high-quality data, analysis and expertise on internal displacement with the aim of informing policy and operational decisions that can reduce the risk of future displacement and improve the lives of internally displaced people…

Center for Migration Studies

02/03/20
Throughout human history, migration and climate have always been connected, but in the modern era, the impacts of the man-made climate crisis are likely to extensively change the patterns of human settlement.

Migration and the climate crisis: the UN’s search for solutions

02/03/20
Throughout human history, migration and climate have always been connected, but in the modern era, the impacts of the man-made climate crisis are likely to extensively change the patterns of human settlement.

MORE NEWS

Many coastal residents willing to relocate in the face of sea level rise

By YCC Team   03/09/23  
A survey of more than 1,400 residents of flood-prone urban areas found that almost half would consider moving if flooding becomes more severe. The post Many coastal residents willing to relocate in the face of…
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When Will Florida Be Underwater? For Some Areas, It’s Sooner Rather Than Later

By Rayna Skiver   01/27/23  
When will Florida be underwater? Well, it depends on what area you’re asking about. Due to rising sea levels, many places will be significantly impacted.
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Mass Climate Migration Is Coming

By Gaia Vince   01/11/23  
Unprecedented Heat, Drought, and wildfires caused chaos and misery across the once temperate British Isles this year, as climate change made its impacts felt beyond the mid-latitudes. Across the channel, Europe’s formerly pleasant Mediterranean climate…
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Climate Change Is Already Forcing Communities To Relocate

01/09/23  
Environmental changes due to climate change are pushing residents out of their neighborhoods, though many are ignoring the signs.
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The best and worst US states for climate change

By Inaara Thawer   12/27/22  
A recent study by Wise Voter set out to compare how each U.S. state is coping with the growing climate crisis. Each state was ranked based on five environmental factors. These were Carbon Emissions, the…
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How Arizona’s Border Wall Could Stop Animals Escaping From Climate Change

By Ciara Nugent   12/15/22  
As Arizona governor Doug Ducey’s term draws to a close, he’s rushing to cement his legacy: a bunch of battered, rusty shipping containers. Since Oct. 24, crews have double-stacked 900 of the metal boxes at…
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After raising hope, Biden still lacks climate migration plan

By Julie Watson   10/19/22  
Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden issued what was widely hailed as a landmark executive order calling for the U.S. government to study and plan for the impact of climate change on migration. And…
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DUST AND BONES

By Yessenia Funes   09/01/22  
to grow sore. I’ve just gotten pricked by a piece of jumping cholla cactus—what some deem the Arizona desert’s most dangerous plant. My ankle is covered. I thought I was being careful but, clearly, not…
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Climate Migration May Lead to the Next Great Housing Crisis

07/25/22  
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, mainly caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.
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The deadly connections between climate change and migration

By Sarah Kennedy   07/20/22  
Thousands of people have died attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico. And the crossing is growing even more dangerous as the climate changes. U.S. border security policy in the Southwest is designed to deter…
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Coverage of migration from place to place within the U.S.

By Sueellen Campbell   06/01/22  
There’s no question that weather and climate disasters will continue to displace more and more people. In 2021 alone, according to NOAA, 20 billion-dollar disasters of this kind occurred in the U.S., costing $148 billion.
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This is the safest place to live in the us as the climate changes

03/21/22  
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver…
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The Illinois town that got up and left

By Marcello Rossi   03/15/22  
In the summer of 1993, the southwestern Illinois town of Valmeyer took the brunt of a massive flood when, not once but twice in a month, the swollen Mississippi River topped its levee system. The…
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Climate change could make America’s coldest cities today the climate havens of tomorrow

By Alexa Liacko   03/04/22  
Scientists expect more and more people to move out of warmer places, leave the coasts and flock to cities that are seeing less severe impacts from climate change. Those places are being called "climate havens."
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Interviews with California Climate Migrants

By Wendy Erickson   03/01/22  
After years of record breaking fire seasons in California, many individuals and families are making the hard decision to relocate to areas in the U.S. with decreased risk of severe climate events. According to a…
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The Great Climate Migration

By Benoit Morenne   02/23/22  
Laura Hinerfeld and her husband, Dale Geist, never thought they’d leave California. But after the Complex fires of 2017 killed 24 people, ravaged 7,000 structures and crept too close to their house in Sonoma, they…
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Why the conversation about climate change and migration needs to change

By Eric Reidy   02/22/22  
For some, these vast numbers conjure cataclysmic images of hordes of desperate people escaping climate hotspots in the Global South, clamouring to cross borders into Europe and the United States. And they’re often accompanied by…
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How countries should prepare for climate migration

By Ari Shapiro   02/21/22  
We can't say for certain how many people will be displaced by climate change in the coming years. Some will be forced from their homes by extreme weather events like fires and floods. Others will…
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The World Needs a Plan—an Equitable One—on Climate Migration

By Nicole Greenfield   02/16/22  
Wildfires. Floods. Hurricanes. For years, the consequences of carbon-fueled climate change have been upending lives and causing people to migrate. And those are just the sudden climate catastrophes.
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Climate Displacement Gives America the Opportunity to Improve the Record on Immigration

By Diana Martinez Quintana   02/09/22  
Weather-related disasters—such as intense storms, floods, and droughts—have been the leading catalyst of new internal (within-country) displacements worldwide in recent years. In 2020, 30 million new people were internally displaced due to weather-related disasters. That…
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Op-Ed: The world’s definition of ‘refugee’ shortchanges economic migrants

By Anthony Pahnke   01/02/22  
The U.S. and Europe are facing growing migration crises and humanitarian emergencies at overwhelmed borders — raising the question of how to legally authorize the flow of people who do not count as refugees.
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Addressing Migration in the Age of Climate Change

By Amanda Barba   01/01/22  
The age of climate change has brought heightened levels of violence as competition over essential resources continues to grow to exponential heights. As a result, individuals have become internally and externally displaced from their homes.
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As temperatures rise, crossing into the US will become even more deadly

By Mark Armao   12/21/21  
When undocumented migrants cross the U.S.–Mexico border into southern Arizona, they face a perilous journey through the Sonoran Desert, some of the most inhospitable terrain in North America. Summer temperatures in the region routinely top…
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The corporate climate migration has begun

By Andrew Freedman   12/12/21  
Companies large and small, some with longtime roots in their neighborhoods, are on the hunt for new real estate that is less prone to weather and climate extremes.
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Climate denial is waning on the right. What’s replacing it might be just as scary

By Oliver Milman   11/21/21  
Standing in front of the partial ruins of Rome’s Colosseum, Boris Johnson explained that a motive to tackle the climate crisis could be found in the fall of the Roman empire. Then, as now, he…
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Why climate migrants are missing from the debate at Cop26

By Patrick Mulholland   11/05/21  
Developed countries must “strengthen their commitments” to the increasing number of people escaping the adverse effects of climate change, the UN Network on Migration has said at Cop26. “Enhancing the availability and accessibility of regular…
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The White House Report on Climate Migration, Explained

By Erol Yayboke, Catherine Nzuki and Sierra Ballard   11/05/21  
The Biden-Harris administration released a major report on climate migration on Thursday, October 21, 2021. Strategically timed to coincide with final preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in early November…
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By 2050, 200 Million Climate Refugees May Have Fled Their Homes.

By Moira Lavelle   11/02/21  
In recent years, tens of thousands of people have fled Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras, leaving not just because of gang violence but also drought and extreme weather conditions that have made it…
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US: More threats, more desperate refugees as climate warms

By Julie Watson, Ellen Knickmeyer and Nomaan Merchant   10/22/21  
The Earth’s warming and resulting natural disasters are creating a more dangerous world of desperate leaders and peoples, the Biden administration said Thursday in the federal government’s starkest assessments yet of security and migration challenges…
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How ‘managed retreat’ from climate change could revitalize rural America: Revisiting the Homestead Act

By Hillary A. Brown and Daniel R. Brooks   10/18/21  
Southern Italy’s rural Calabria region announced an innovative project in 2021 to breathe new life into its small towns. It plans to offer young professionals thousands of dollars if they move in and commit to…
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America’s Next Great Migrations Are Driven by Climate Change

By Parag Khanna and Susan Joy Hassol   10/14/21  
The increasingly frequent and intense floods, heat waves, wildfires and other extreme climate events jolt us into realizing that we don’t have the comfortable distance of 2040 or 2050 by which to mitigate climate change.…
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Most Americans would rather rebuild than move if natural disaster strikes, poll finds

By Dominico Montanaro and Liz Baker   10/05/21  
Even as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, from fires to floods and hurricanes, two-thirds of Americans say if their home is hit they would rather rebuild than relocate, a…
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With climate change, there may be no best place to live

By Francis Wilkinson   09/25/21  
Climate change is having a breakout performance this year. Throughout the U.S., the slow-motion calamity long described in scientific studies and news articles has been visible to the naked eye or felt on tingling flesh…
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Climate change will force people to move. We need to find out where they’ll go

By Peter R. Orszag   09/17/21  
As the risk of severe climate change rises, and efforts to reduce carbon emissions ramp up, serious thought must also be given to the movement of people that climate change stands to provoke. This migration…
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In areas hit hard by climate change, only the rich can afford to stay

By Lindsey Jacobson   09/16/21  
The rain fell steadily at Curt Dyer’s Miami Beach, Florida, home on a mid-July day this summer. He opened the door to the garage and pointed to the flood already collecting in his driveway. He…
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Climate change will force people to move: We need to find out where

By Peter R. Orszag   09/16/21  
As the risk of severe climate change rises, and efforts to reduce carbon emissions ramp up, serious thought must also be given to the movement of people that climate change stands to provoke. This migration…
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Report: Climate Change Could See 200 Million Move by 2050

By Renata Brito   09/13/21  
Climate change could push more than 200 million people to leave their homes in the next three decades and create migration hot spots unless urgent action is taken to reduce global emissions and bridge the…
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Climate change could displace 200 million people within their own countries by 2050

By Renata Brito   09/13/21  
Climate change could push more than 200 million people to leave their homes in the next three decades and create migration hot spots unless urgent action is taken to reduce global emissions and bridge the…
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California’s climate nomads: The 2018 Camp fire left them homeless, struggling to survive

By Joe Mozingo   08/04/21  
The nomads of Butte County must hide or keep moving — scope out a little wooded draw to park a trailer unnoticed, head down the mountain to rotate between driveways in Chico, or bivouac in…
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Heat is about to restructure American life in ways we can only begin to imagine

By Chris Hayes   07/21/21  
One of the most interesting questions, perhaps the most interesting question, about where America will be in 25 years is where Americans, literally, will live. And that's inextricably linked to the most pressing unknown we…
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Seeking your climate refuge? Consider this

By Jamie Beck Alexander   07/20/21  
It was the trees that my family loved most about California: the coast redwoods, Monterey cypress and giant sequoias that have stood watch and borne witness to the passage of time for a million years. And it was the trees,…
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Climate Change Forces Some Americans To Relocate

05/23/21  
"Climate change refugees" are moving due to unsustainable weather conditions.
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Extreme Weather Displaces Record Numbers of People as Temperatures Rise

By Deutsche Welle   05/21/21  
Storms, floods, wildfires and droughts drove more than 30 million people from their homes last year, as rising temperatures wrought extra chaos on the climate, according to a report published Thursday by the Internal Displacement…
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Climate change drives migrants to U.S. border, Harris says

By Sara Schonhardt   05/06/21  
Vice President Kamala Harris is describing climate change as a driver of migration from Central America, and she's pushing for adaptation efforts as a way to address it. Her comments mark a seismic shift in…
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If Sea Level Rises, ‘Climate Migrants’ May Flood Phoenix: Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing

By Ray Stern   04/21/21  
A new climate-change study making national headlines all week paints a grim picture of U.S. climate refugees fleeing flooded areas, streaming inland to "burden" places like metro Phoenix. To which we say: Bring us your…
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Climate change will destroy communities. Let’s help them move now.

By Shanelle Loren   01/26/21  
Last week, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. But even if its targets are met — and most countries are far from hitting them — the world will still likely be headed for a 3°C global temperature rise.…
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Americans Are Moving To Escape Climate Impacts. Towns Expect More To Come

By Annie Ropeik   01/22/21  
The impacts of climate change could prompt millions of Americans to relocate in coming decades, moving inland away from rising seas, or north to escape rising temperatures.
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Climate Migration Needs Personal Stories

By Cameron Ramey   01/05/21  
Reporting personal stories illustrating the impacts of climate change bears importance beyond feeding reader interest or even good journalism practice. Personal stories give a human face to one of the most tangible consequences of unmitigated…
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Climate change is forcing some villages to move

By Lori Townsend   10/16/20  
Lori Townsend talks with Jocelyn Fenton, Transportation and Infrastructure Protection Program Manager for the Denali Commission and Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer, Senior Project Manager for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
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Alex Domash: Americans are becoming climate migrants before our eyes

By Alex Domash   10/02/20  
While the US closes the doors on climate migrants from abroad, it must acknowledge that the problem has already come home.
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