For all the warnings we hear about the threat of rising sea levels and intensifying hurricanes, few seem to be using that information when it comes to finding a place to live. Nothing makes this clearer than when you look at how many people are moving to Florida. Last year, the state saw nearly 600 new residents per day.
That’s right, per day!
You can hardly blame anyone for wanting to live in Florida﹘the state does have phenomenal weather and no personal income tax. But the flip side of all those sunny days is the increased risk brought on by climate change. In this post, we take a look at how many people picked the Sunshine State and what they need to know about climate risk.
Florida’s popularity by the numbers
Florida has always been a popular location for people looking to put down roots. In fact, it’s among 13 states with the fastest population growth , increasing by more than 14 percent in the last 10 year. Florida also joined Texas and Arizona at the top of the list for states with the largest net domestic migration gains, according to the most recent census data :
- Florida: 220,890
- Texas: 170,307
- Arizona: 93,026
This number is the difference between people moving in and people moving out. As you can see, Florida is by far the biggest winner by that measurement. Compare that to the states with the largest net domestic migration losses:
- California: -367,299
- New York: -352,185
- Illinois: -122,460
You can’t look at those numbers and draw conclusions about why people choose to settle down in Florida, but people often try. Some say that Californians and New Yorkers are trying to get away from high taxes or that Illinoisans are escaping brutal winter weather. All of these are just guesses.
However, we do know one thing. At least one major report shows the clock is ticking on climate change, and that means people buying homes in Florida may be taking on more risk than they anticipated.
Increasing climate risks don’t deter homebuyers
Climate change affects your home in several ways, but one of the biggest is your exposure to risk. For some Floridians, rising oceans mean their homes now sit just below sea level. Others are more likely to suffer wind damage and flooding from the increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes.
But as census data shows, these realities aren’t causing people to think twice about living in Florida. Moreover, only 48 percent of homebuyers don’t consider climate change when deciding on a home.
Long story short, human behavior is hard to change, and people are ultimately going to live in places that bring them joy. The real question is: how can we make them safer wherever they land?
How to protect your home from climate risks
When it comes to protecting your home from climate change, knowledge is power. You want to know what your risks are so you can reduce their impact. We’ve found a couple of tools that help with this.
The first is the National Risk Index from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It scores communities on their risk for 18 natural disasters, including coastal flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and includes data for community resiliency and expected annual losses. Another useful tool comes from Flood Factor , a free online application that incorporates data about our changing environment to determine a property’s flood risk.
Once you know what perils you’re exposed to, you can reinforce your property against them. For a Florida homeowner on the coast, that may mean adding hurricane clips to your roof or taking other steps to hurricane-proof your home. Homeowners more inland, however, may want to learn about protecting properties from wildfires.
Another key step in protecting your home? Knowing what your home insurance policy covers. For example, home insurance typically covers wind damage, but water damage from floods is almost always excluded. If flooding is common in your area, then you may want to look at adding flood insurance to your policy.
Not sure if all your risks are covered? Check out “What’s in My Home Insurance Policy?”