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

The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is a think tank and an educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and…

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.


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  Photo: Wilfredo Lee , AP   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  Photo: Patrick Ngugi , Associated Press   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  Photo: Gina Ferrazi , Los Angeles Times   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  Photo: Getty Images   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  Photo: S. Bandopadhyay   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  Photo: Sarah Silbige   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…

Climate change will destroy communities. Let’s help them move now.

By Shanelle Loren  Photo by Warren Faidley   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  Photo by Dan Tuohy   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.

Air pollution will lead to mass migration, say experts after landmark ruling

By Diane Taylor  Photo: Wu Hong/EPA-EFE   01/15/21  
Call for world leaders to act in wake of French extradition case that turned on environmental concerns

Climate Migration Needs Personal Stories

By Cameron Ramey  Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT   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  Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP/Getty Images   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  Photo: Meridith Kohut   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  Photo By Josh Haner   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

How to Make Climate Refugee Protections a Reality

By Steve Trent   02/08/20  
By Steve Trent Imagine if you couldn't feed your children and had to leave your home because of fossil fuels burned in a far-off country. That's what people on the front lines of climate change…

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

The decision may open the door for climate refugee claims down the line.

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  Photo 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

Photo by Getty Images   01/20/20  
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

As the big dry bites and temperature records tumble, Aboriginal people in Alice Springs say global heating threatens their culture and very survival.

The fight for climate and migrant justice is the fight for human rights

Today, International Migrants Day,  is an opportunity to highlight the inextricable link between climate and migrant justice and how these struggles are struggles for human rights. The climate crisis has already created extreme conditions across…

Can We Predict ‘Climate Migrations’?

A prototype model considers climate and socioeconomic factors to see if displacements of people can be predicted and better explained.

How Climate Change Influences Immigration to the United States

Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.None NoneRetired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for…

Climate Change Is Altering Migration Patterns Regionally and Globally

By Jayla Lundstrom  Photo: Getty/Orlando Sierra/AFP   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…

Climate Change Forces 20 Million People to Flee Each Year, Oxfam Finds

Over the past decade, climate-fueled disasters drove over 20 million people a year from their homes, concluded a report released by Oxfam on Monday. The Oxfam study, titled "Forced from Home," was released as two…

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…

22 Minutes In The Life Of Louisiana’s Climate Refugees

In "Lowland Kids," two teenagers grapple with leaving an island that's sinking before their very eyes.

House Democrats Unveil Bill To Protect Climate Refugees

By Alexander C. Kaufman   10/23/19  
The legislation, while unlikely to pass under President Trump, fleshes out how a Green New Deal could address one of the most pressing crises of global warming.

Trump Admin Ignored Its Own Data Linking Migrant Crisis to Climate Change

The Trump administration ignored its own evidence on how climate change is impacting migration and food security when setting new policies for cutting aid to Central America, NBC reports.NoneAn internal Customs and Border Protection research…

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

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

Record 7 Million People Displaced by Extreme Weather Events in First Half of 2019

In another sign of the climate crisis, a record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather events during the first half of 2019, The New York Times reported Thursday.The number comes…

Democratic Debate Ignores The Climate Refugee Crisis That’s Happening Right Now

Four of the presidential candidates sponsored a bill to admit Bahamians fleeing hurricane destruction. But the issue was never raised at the debate in Houston.

How climate change is driving emigration from Central America

By Miranda Cady Hallett  Photo: Todd Post/Bread for the World Institute   09/06/19  
Rising global temperatures, the spread of crop disease and extreme weather events have made coffee harvests unreliable in places like El Salvador. On top of that, market prices are unpredictable.

Some northern cities could be reborn as ‘climate havens’

By Marcello Rossi   08/07/19  
Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Duluth could become a new home for those fleeing from wildfires, hurricanes, and extreme heat in other places.

4 Activists Explain Why Migrant Justice Is Climate Justice

By Maia Wikler  Photo: Getty   06/11/19  
"If we aren’t in solidarity with refugees, migrants, and people displaced by climate change, war, and violence, we are doing ourselves a disservice."

Get ready for tens of millions of climate refugees

By Susan Cosier   04/24/19  
In 2006, the British economist Nicholas Stern warned that one of the biggest dangers of climate change would be mass migration. “Climate-related shocks have sparked violent conflict in the past,” he wrote, “and conflict is…

Central American Farmers Head to the U.S., Fleeing Climate Change

By Kirk Semple   04/13/19  
Farmers, agricultural scientists and industry officials say a new threat has been ruining harvests, upending lives and adding to the surge of families migrating to the United States: climate change.

Millennials are preparing for the worst in case of a climate-change disaster, and it’s prompting them to buy rural land in places like Oregon and Vermont

By Katie Warren  Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock   12/05/18  
These young professionals are buying up land as a backup plan in case a climate-change disaster devastates their urban homes, The Times said.

Climate change could force 13 million Americans to migrate

By Steve LeVine  Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty   11/26/18  
In recent decades, climate change has exacerbated civil unrest, led to war, and put migrants on the road out of their countries, according to the National Climate Assessment released last week.

There’s grim news on climate change. Will it lead to mass migration and conflict?

By Gabriele Spilker, Vally Koubi, Lena Schaffer and Tobias Böhmelt  Photo by Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images   10/15/18  
With the intensified debates on the consequences of climate change comes a renewed concern about climate-change-induced migration. Will the effects of climate change prompt large flows of environmental migrants and, in turn, increase the risk…

‘We’re moving to higher ground’: America’s era of climate mass migration is here

By Oliver Milman   09/24/18  
By the end of this century, sea level rises alone could displace 13 million people in the US. Many states will have to grapple with hordes of residents seeking dry ground. But, as one expert…