Coastal Migration and Climate Adaptation

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The increasing risk associated with more frequent and severe hurricanes and flooding, coastal erosion, and sea level rise have led to more consideration of human migration away from the coast of the United States. The decision to migrate is a complex process that weighs a variety of factors, and climate related risks play only a small role in that process. This project attempts to shed light on the various factors that influence migration decision making and tries to develop a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the weight that climate change and its associated risks play in that decision making. This project utilizes a survey delivered to Florida homeowners and a regression analysis of the infoUSA dataset to begin to unpack these challenging questions. The results from the survey provided insight into how much weight climate risks carried in the decision to migrate compared to other life events, and also provided quantitative results for willingness-to-accept buyouts and willingness-to-pay for a “rentback” scenario. The results from the regression analysis found that the potential positive relationship between migration and natural disaster is highly sensitive to the definition of migration, suggesting that micro-level data might be more helpful for the research question. This project serves as a jumping-off point for further research and studies on coastal migration and climate adaptation.





Sugerik, Corey, and Kunxin Zhu (2020). Coastal Migration and Climate Adaptation. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.