About 3.4 million adults in the U.S. (1.4% of the adult population) were displaced from their homes by extreme weather disasters in 2022, a new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals. Those findings, based on the 68,500 responses to the Bureau’s Jan. 4–16 Household Pulse Survey, are far higher than figures from the International Displacement Monitoring Centre, which estimates an average of 800,000 U.S. residents were displaced annually from 2008 through 2021, including the 1.7 million people the Centre estimates were displaced in 2017 when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria all rocked the country.
About half of those displaced in 2022 were forced to leave their homes due to hurricanes. While about 40% of those displaced return home within a week, about 12% are displaced for more than six months, and roughly 16% never return home, the portion of people with disabilities who are permanently displaced by disasters is far higher. The Census survey also found low-income households (under $25,000 per year) were forced to evacuate at twice the rate as the general population, and 4% of LGBT people were forced to evacuate, compared to 1.2% of cisgender, straight people. (E&E News; Climate Signals background: 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, 2022 Western wildfire season, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria)