Americans are moving away from some areas hit hardest by hurricanes and extreme heat, and are moving to regions most prone to extreme wildfires and drought — as well as hurricane-prone Florida — a study published Thursday in Frontiers in Human Dynamics finds. The University of Vermont researchers found people are increasingly moving away from flood-prone areas along the Mississippi River, as well as New York State and West Virginia. They’re moving to places with immediate and tangible benefits, like the scenic beauty of the West, or the retiree amenities of Florida, and setting aside wildfire and hurricane risks.
That so many Americans are “flocking to fire” as the study’s authors put it, indicates “the public has not fully acknowledged the climate emergency,” Brown University population studies professor Elizabeth Fussell, who was not involved in the study, told Inside Climate News. The socioeconomic costs will still rise, however, Jennifer Marlon of the Yale School of Environment told CNN. “Moving more folks into high-risk areas is going to prove exceedingly costly,” said Marlon, who was not involved in the study. “The question just becomes a matter of who is going to pay for the damages.” (Inside Climate News, CNN, The Hill)