Over the last 10 years, it is estimated that over 250,000 Americans have moved out of counties most at risk for climate change. Moves related to climate change, especially from one state to another, are predicted to become more common. A new study from Hire A Helper points toward Maricopa County as being the No. 1 destination for moves to escape climate change.
Hire A Helper used the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to assume that in counties most at risk for climate change, those who marked “change of climate” for their reason of moving on the survey most likely are moving to escape climate change.
Using this assumption and other climate change migration projections, Hire A Helper estimates that in 2021 there were 29,496 climate change moves and predicts that there will be 44,867 climate change moves in 2023.
Most at-risk counties have high risks of suffering extreme heat, large fires, sea level rises, declining farm crop yields and economic damages due to weather. Almost half of the counties identified as most at-risk are in Texas, making Texas the top origin of climate change migration in the U.S.
On the flip side, Maricopa county seems to be the top destination of climate change migration. Maricopa county has received the most moves related to climate change, representing 2% of all climate change moves since 2010. Los Angeles county is a close second, representing 1.9% of all climate change moves since 2010.
Hire A Helper notes that despite climate change risks, people continue to move to places like Texas and Los Angeles presumably due to higher-paying jobs and/or quality of life outweigh the disruption climate change may cause in the future.
However, climate change is an important factor for many movers. A 2021 Redfin survey found that almost half (49%) of Americans will be considering climate change and its effects when deciding where to move next.