Americans have always been willing to move from one city to another for a variety of reasons — from culture to economy and everything in between. But as more of us take a somewhat pessimistic look at the future, there’s a new litmus test for would-be hometowns: What would it be like to live there during the collapse of society?
Sure, that sounds like a bummer … but it might be a question worth asking.
The climate conundrum
There are many ways that our fragile world could start to crumble, but the most obvious is related to the environment.
This means that the cities with the best plan for weathering (no pun intended) the climate crisis could see huge population surges.
And by the same token, regions that are ill-equipped — either due to inaction or geography — could witness a mass exodus.
A lot of local leaders are already taking steps to protect their residents and infrastructure from extreme weather events and rising temperatures. And we’ve seen some insurance companies accelerate the trend by refusing to issue policies in places that are prone to wildfires, hurricanes, and other potentially devastating events.
A reversal of fortunes
This newfound focus on resilience in the face of uncertainty could benefit some cities that have seen their populations dwindle over recent decades. With natural protections against flooding, fires, and earthquakes (not to mention easy access to resources such as water), currently struggling cities like Detroit and Cincinnati might start to welcome climate refugees in the near future.
On the other hand, metro areas like Phoenix, which has seen a massive influx of residents recently, could become utterly inhospitable amid rising temperatures and worsening droughts. All hope isn’t lost for the Sun Belt, though, as evidenced by water-conservation policies in Las Vegas that have been highly successful.