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Dangerous wildfires. Heavy downpours. Damaging floods. As the climate warms, many parts of the U.S. are in growing danger from extreme events.

It would make sense for people to start moving out of the most vulnerable areas, but a report from the real estate company Redfin shows that the opposite is happening. From 2016 through 2020, more people moved to high-risk areas than low-risk areas.

“People were actually leaving some of the places with a lower climate risk,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “These tend to be places in the Midwest, the Rust Belt, that have had less economic prosperity. And they’re tending to move to areas in the Sun Belt, so Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada.”

She says people are often lured by warmer winters or new economic opportunities.

Others are leaving areas such as San Francisco that lack affordable housing.

“And what happens is that people get pushed further and further away from the city center into central California that has high fire risk,” Fairweather says.

So from people searching for affordability to those seeking warmer winters, a growing number are in the path of increasingly extreme weather.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media