A new report from Redfin finds Americans are moving to areas at higher risk of natural disasters such as fires, drought, storms, and floods. The 50 counties with the highest risks for high heat experienced population increases of 4.7% between 2016 and 2020, reports Fast Company. And the areas with little risk of high heat saw drops in populations. But reading between the lines, counties with higher risk offered more affordable housing, with 40 out of the 50 counties offering homes prices less than the national median. For the top counties facing drought, fire, flood, and storms, populations also increased.
The only exception to the trend were counties at low risk from storms, where populations grew by 0.9%.
That’s not to say that some people aren’t already deciding to relocate because of repeated hurricanes, wildfires, or other disasters that are more frequent and more intense because of climate change. And that might become more common. In a survey of 2,000 U.S. residents earlier this year, Redfin found that nearly half of respondents who planned to move in the next year said that disasters or extreme temperatures were a factor in their decisions. Three-quarters said that they were hesitant to buy homes in areas with climate risk.