Study suggests people are leaving some U.S. neighborhoods because of flood risks

FILE-An aerial view from a drone shows a vehicle driving through a flooded street after Hurricane Sally passed through the area on September 17, 2020 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thousands of neighborhoods are being abandoned based on concerns of flood risks in certain parts of the country, a new study suggests. 

A study by the risk analysis firm First Street Foundation published in the journal Nature Communications finds that increasing flood exposure, which can result in property damage and financial losses, are expected to drive population and demographic shifts in the U.S. 

Authors for the study used flood data between 2000-2023 in the U.S., while identifying the relationships between flood exposure and population change.

RELATED: After summer's extreme weather, more people view climate change as a culprit, poll finds

Climate change is making hurricanes more intense and increasing the amount of rain dropped on the Midwest. And in the coming decades, researchers say millions more people will decide it is too much to live with and leave.

Specific areas people are leaving with the threat of rising flood risks are neighborhoods in many cities like Houston, Miami and Washington, D.C. — that is seeing growth overall, the Hill reported. 

Researchers also identified areas where flood risk is driving population decline, which the group calls "climate abandonment areas." Roughly 3.2 million people left these neighborhoods because of flood risk over a 20-year period.

RELATED: US National Climate Assessment finds worsening warming is hurting people in all regions

When First Street projected movement from areas to 2053, many of the new climate abandonment locales were in Michigan, Indiana and other parts of the Midwest, the Associated Press noted. 

Separately, a study by Redfin in 2022, explains that homebuyers who have access to flood-risk information when browsing home listings online are more likely to view and make offers on homes with lower flood risk than those who don’t have access. 

Moreover, people are less likely to search for flood-prone properties when provided information as part of the listing about whether a home flooded in the past or may flood in the future.

According to the First Street study, people moving based on flooding and climate may increase over time, with figures suggesting between 4.2 and 13.1 million people in the U.S. may be at risk of flooding by the year 2100.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.