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Look closely, and you’ll find America’s ‘climate abandonment areas’

A small dog walks down the street past garbage piled high in front of homes.
A dog passes a pile of destroyed items that were removed from a once flooded home as residents begin the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey August 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas. | Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

More than 16 million people in the contiguous US — roughly 5 percent of the population — live in a place with heightening flood risk and a shrinking population, according to new research. It makes the case that “climate abandonment areas” are becoming a more prevalent phenomenon in the US as people avoid places particularly vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

What’s a climate abandonment area? It’s a census block where flood risk has grown high enough to start pushing people to leave. Many of these areas lie along the Texas Gulf Coast, coastal Florida, and the mid-Atlantic.

But it’s by no means confined to these regions, which can get hit repeatedly by storms during the Atlantic hurricane season. Climate abandonment areas are…

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