A University of California study using artificial intelligence has predicted mass migration patterns away from U.S. coasts as ocean levels rise in the years ahead.
If forecasts of sea-level rise, based on current rates, are accurate, 13 million people will need to evacuate U.S. coastal areas by 2100.
The study combined those forecasts with population-change predictions for every U.S. county. The study also incorporated migration patterns after hurricanes Katrina and Rita swamped the U.S. Gulf Coast area. Artificial intelligence used this data to forecast where people will go when they flee the coasts.
The outcome: large inland cities now relatively near coastal areas – Austin, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Las Vegas, for example – will be flooded with U.S. citizen-migrants, because people are expected to stay relatively close to the areas they’ve left.
As those centers become crowded with migrants, housing prices will spike and competition for decent jobs will sharpen.
To avoid that pricey urban crush, millions will resettle in suburban and rural areas across the Midwest, straining infrastructure and public services in towns that now have small populations.
The researchers say that every county in the U.S. will be affected.
The study’s purpose was to give early warning to planners, economists, and others responsible for guiding development so they can thwart the ill effects of sudden in-migration.
TRENDPOST: Changing weather patterns and sea-level rise will ripple through the U.S. in unanticipated ways, recasting everything from the property insurance business to public schools. State and local governments will need to be foresighted in their planning and nimble in their responses to unexpected changes, two traits that governments now typically lack. Those that can refocus their vision from today’s crises to tomorrow’s challenges will become the quality-of-life success stories of this coming “migration era.”

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