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.



Report On The Impact Of Climate Change On Migration

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

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

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.


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

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

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.


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…

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…

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.

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…

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.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

Climate Change Forces Some Americans To Relocate

"Climate change refugees" are moving due to unsustainable weather conditions.

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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.

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…

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.

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.

Op-ed: Why American climate refugees could bring hope, prosperity to Indiana

By Eric Sandweiss and Janet McCabe   10/02/20  
The Great Migration of 6 million Black Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South The Dust Bowl journey of 2.5 million people headed west from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri;

Capturing the Faces of Climate Migration

By Libby Peterson   09/19/20  
A Times Magazine series examines how climate change will force millions worldwide to move. Recently, Meridith Kohut photographed people on the front lines of this shift. In America.

How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

By Abrahm Lustgarten   09/15/20  
August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their…

Louisiana’s population is already moving to escape climate catastrophe

By Tim McDonnell   09/01/20  
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, St. Tammany parish was a rural, sparsely populated corner of southeastern Louisiana best known for sawmills and a smattering of fancy resorts. It hugs the north shore of…

Where Will Everyone Go?

By Abrahm Lustgarten   07/23/20  
Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. The land was turning against him. For five years, it almost never rained.…

Are We Thinking About Climate Migration All Wrong?

By Alexandra Tempus   03/14/20  
Apocalyptic predictions may grab our attention, but they can also stoke xenophobia and miss the full picture of what’s happening on the ground

U.N. Human Rights Committee Issues Landmark Climate Migration Decision

A decision last week by the UN Human Rights Committee indicates that if climate impacts worsen in the future, countries may not lawfully return climate migrants to their home states where their right to life…

Burkina Faso Study Shows Link Between Land Degradation and Migration

By Elisabeth Ilboudo-Nébié   01/22/20  
Sorting out the factors that drive migration can help countries to plan ahead and provide support systems. ...

Climate Refugees In Imminent Danger Cannot Be Deported Home, Rights Committee Rules

By Allison Joyce   01/21/20  
Governments must take into account the risks of climate change when considering a refugee’s claim for asylum, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled in a landmark case. The decision could protect refugees from…

World needs to prepare for ‘millions’ of climate displaced: U.N.

By Luke Baker   01/21/20  
The world needs to prepare for millions of people being driven from their homes by the impact of climate change, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday.

People urgently fleeing climate crisis cannot be sent home, UN rules

People fleeing immediate danger due to the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, the UN has said. The landmark ruling centres on the case of Ioane Teitiota, whose home - the Pacific Island…

Too hot for humans? First Nations people fear becoming Australia’s first climate refugees

By Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed   12/18/19  
As the big dry bites and temperature records tumble, Aboriginal people in Alice Springs say global heating threatens their culture and very survival.

Can We Predict ‘Climate Migrations’?

By Francesco Fiondella   12/05/19  
A prototype model considers climate and socioeconomic factors to see if displacements of people can be predicted and better explained. ...

Climate Change Is Altering Migration Patterns Regionally and Globally

By Jayla Lundstrom   12/03/19  
Since at least 2014, a growing number of asylum-seekers from Central America have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border. While the response from the Obama administration raised genuine protection concerns, the Trump administration has taken the…

20 Million People Have Fled Their Homes Because Of ‘Climate Chaos’ Since 2008: Oxfam

Fiercer weather and worsening wildfires drove more than 20 million people from their homes over the last decade ― a problem set to worsen unless leaders act swiftly to head off surging climate threats, anti-poverty…

America’s Great Climate Exodus Is Starting in the Florida Keys

By Prashant Gopal   09/20/19  
Mass migration begins as coastal homes are bulldozed in the state facing the biggest threat from climate-driven inundation.