Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Many coastal residents willing to relocate in the face of sea level rise » Yale Climate Connections

As seas rise, water is increasingly creeping into homes and neighborhoods. And over time, a growing number of coastal residents will need to decide whether to accept frequent flooding or move.

Anamaria Bukvic of the Center for Coastal Studies at Virginia Tech wanted to know how willing people are to consider a permanent move. She surveyed more than 1,400 residents living in flood-prone urban areas from New York to Florida.

She found that almost half would be willing to move if flooding becomes more frequent and severe.

“Close to 40% of them would consider doing so maybe in the future,” she says.

And only 13% said they would not relocate.

“So that is [an] amazing finding. We didn’t expect to see such high numbers,” Bukvic says.

She says the risk to personal property is not the only motivating factor.

“People have things that are important to them in their communities,” she says.

If churches, coffee shops, and other centers of community close because of flooding, residents have fewer reasons to stay.

Bukvic says learning what makes people willing to relocate can help policymakers design programs to support people as the oceans continue to rise.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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