When Americans flee rising seas, where will they go?

Researchers at the University of Georgia are painting a picture of a massive migration in the United States because of climate change.

Their study says nine states will lose population as people flee inland.

The study was based on a prediction that sea levels will rise by 6 feet by 2100, almost two-feet below NOAA’s worst-case scenario. Boston, Miami, New York and Seattle, would be almost completely submerged in this scenario, Huffington Post says today.

Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania receive most of the “climate migrants,” the researchers say. But every state would feel the impact.

Minnesota, for example, gains up to 50,000 people in counties from the Twin Cities down along the Mississippi River.

“If future migration pathways mimic past pathways, SLR (sea level rise) is expected to reshape the US population distribution and could stress some landlocked areas unprepared for these migrations while revitalizing others,” writes Mathew Hauer, a University of Georgia demographer.

  • Gary F

    Ten years ago they were saying this was supposed to happen by now. Now its getting pushed out until 2100, 83 more years.

    Invest in land in South Dakota?

    • I’m going to need the citation that says that 10 years ago Miami would be underwater by now.

      That said, the seas ARE rising.

      And 2100 isn’t when the seas start rising. 2100 is when they reach 8 feet higher than now.


    • Joe

      No way did any reputable scientist ever say in 2007 that Boston, Miami, New York City and Seattle would all be under water by 2017.

      You are lying and you know it.

      • Gary F

        Al Gore did.

        • jon

          You believe Al Gore is a reputable scientist? This explains a lot.

        • Like I said, give me the citation

        • Rob

          Dude, I hope you’re texting about rising sea levels with your SCUBA gear on…

    • Rob

      South Dakota, hell! Try Como Lake.

    • Rob

      Nope. Just sell NY tap water to Arizona residents.

  • No wonder it’s a seller’s market for MN homeowners…

    • ec99

      Tell that to my cousin whose trying to unload his house in Stillwater.

  • Jeff C.

    Since the end the last ice age, sea level has risen around 125 meters (410 ft.). Nobody should be surprised that they are still going up. What is different is how quickly they have been going up in recent times and how much faster they are predicted to go up in the near future.

    • Jim in RF

      Yep, it’s not the velocity. It’s the acceleration.

      • Rob

        Or, as any blues singer worth their salt would say, “It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion.”

  • Ralphy

    I’m thinking North Carolina is safe.
    They passed a law. ( ; D

  • Jeff

    It’s boom times for the wall business.

  • Mike Worcester

    To see but a small example of what is already happening, look north. Way north.


  • LifebloodMN

    Modelling the resulting effects of a model is not my favorite type of science.

    • kennedy

      Businesses run models all the time. For example, car companies model car crashes and model the effects on simulated occupants. Much cheaper than crashing dozens of cars.

      In the case of the environment I am firmly in favor of modelling, predicting and preparing rather than waiting for an actual disaster to occur. Oh and we only have one, so crashing it means game over.

      • LifebloodMN

        While somewhat true, there are much fewer variables in collisions- it’s straight physics. And climate simulations do not make predictions, they are projections- they are not predictive

        • kennedy

          Go to NOAA. They have climate change predictions. Running a single model would give a projection. Running multiple models with varying scenarios gives information to make a prediction.

          The Department of Defense is using these predictions to adapt their strategies to climate change. Seems reasonable for other agencies to do the same.

          • LifebloodMN

            Models have gotten better but we still need more data and better resolution models. NOAA attempts to predict seasonal weather, not long term climate. CMIP5 is not predictive nor are the results presented as such. The DoD uses projections.

  • Bob Sinclair

    I’m retiring to Idaho. Then I’ll be boB from ID instead of boB from WA. 🙂

    • Funniest line in the most recent Britt & Brauer podcast: “Idaho is where the jerks from California move to”

      • Bob Sinclair

        Nothing about where the jerks from WA are moving to? Frankly, what I’ve seen, most of the “jerks” move to northern ID rather than to the Treasure Valley (Boise and environs), which is where I will choose to move.

  • Bob Sinclair

    Hmm. Seattle under 8 feet of h2o. That means the rest of the WA coast will also be under as well as any communities that have rivers that flow into the Pacific. This should present some interesting challenges for any towns along the Columbia as well as its tributaries.