The 20 Best Places to Live if You’re Worried About Climate Change

Boston, Massachusetts

Climate change is a phenomenon with global impacts. We see its effects in record-breaking temperatures, changes in sea levels, and monster-sized weather systems. These often lead to life-threatening storms accompanied by natural disasters. Devastating hurricanes leave devastating swaths of destruction through multiple states with wind damage and flooding. Most places are affected by the byproducts of climate change, some regions are more resilient to catastrophe. Here are the 20 best places to live if you’re worried about climate change.


20. Wichita, Kansas

WTop News  ranks Wichita as one of the best cities to live in if you’re worried about climate change. Wichita is recognized as one of the most resilient to climate change. Although rising temperatures and extreme heat are inescapable, Wichita appears to have a moderately low risk shortly. It’s a larger city with a population of more than 640,000, but the average price of a home is $143,850, making it an affordable place to live.

Boise, Idaho

19. Boise, Idaho

Boise is another city that is sheltered from the harsh effects of climate change. The city is at low risk of environmental disasters. The city of Boise is in a landlocked area. The surrounding natural environment does provide some protection from rising sea levels and erosion. The local government is active in attempting to lessen the carbon footprint humans leave on the earth. They’re trying to become a part of the solution to the problem of climate change.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

18. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs has already been affected by climate change with wildfires, rising temperatures, and increased storm activity, however, when compared with other regions, the resiliency scores were much higher than most. You can’t find an area that won’t at least sustain some impact. Colorado Springs, according to experts on climate change, is at a lower risk for natural disasters. It’s a larger city with nearly 700,000 residents and high housing costs, but the wages are also higher to compensate. The local government is active in finding solutions to address the problems of climate change.

Brownsville, Texas

17. Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville is another city that is at a lower risk from impacts from climate change. The resiliency score is high because it is at low risk for natural disasters. Brownsville seems to have been built to withstand any climate events in certain areas. The natural environment is more protective than many other cities in the state. It’s not as likely to fall victim to landfalling hurricanes as Dallas, Houston, or New Orleans. It’s deeper in the Gulf. This gives it a lower likelihood of taking the brunt of hurricane damage. If it does get hit, the geography makes it less likely to sustain major damage. You can get by in the city of 420,000 with home values a low $90,900 on average, but the salary is also low at $35,240 a year for the average household.

Madison, Wisconsin

16. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is considered to be a city that offers high resiliency to climate change. It’s not without some risks. Its location near the Great Lakes gives it higher scores for avoiding the possibility of extreme and long-duration droughts, as are expected in some other areas of the country. Madison has a healthy natural environment. The local government works to conserve natural resources, which helps offset the high risks that many other cities in the area face. Madison is ranked as one of the top 20 places to live in the United States if you’re concerned about the impacts of climate change.

Reno, Nevada

15. Reno, Nevada

Reno is a city that is situated in the Southwest, which means that by nature, the environmental issues you’re most likely to encounter are extreme heat during the summer months, wildfires, insect outbreaks, and drought. However, comparing Reno with other cities such as those in Southern California regions, it fared much better in its resiliency scores. The natural environment of Reno puts it in the low-risk category. It’s not as prone to destructive natural events that come from climate change. A factor that has raised Reno’s resiliency score is the local government’s efforts to maintain the natural environment and find reasonable methods for increasing sustainability. The Metro area of Reno is under 500,000 with more rural, outlying areas. Much of Reno’s natural environment is not heavily populated. This helps to maintain the natural order because of the lack of human intervention. Areas that require attention are receiving the maintenance and monitoring that are necessary to protect the environment and its population. It’s more resilient to extreme weather and natural events.

Portland, Maine

14. Portland, Maine

The New York Times reports that experts on climate change chose Portland, Maine as a highly resilient city. It’s one of the few coastal cities that qualifies for high resilience to natural disasters caused by climate change. It’s better positioned geographically to cope with the effects of rising seas. Portland has a topography feature with numerous hills. Its northern positioning makes it one of the best coastal cities to avoid catastrophic effects from climate change. The elevation of Portland makes it more resilient to damages from sea-level rises. Additionally, it’s not as likely to experience systemic drought issues that southern cities are likely to experience in the years to come.

San Francisco, California

13. San Francisco, California

In Southern California, wherever you go, you will be at risk for earthquakes. This may not be a result of climate change, but rather the geological features of the region. It lies on the northwest coast of California, which provides insulation against extremely hot weather. The city’s positioning also protects the city from the effects of rises in sea level. If your heart is set on living in coastal California, San Francisco is one of your better options. Be warned that the economy in this region is more suitable for the affluent. Financially well-off inhabitants are more likely to thrive in this area. It’s expensive to live in San Francisco.

Detroit, Michigan

12. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit makes the list of the most resilient cities to climate change because of its proximity to the Great Lakes. While rainfall is likely to be an issue for most people in the midwest, the dangerous heat that some other areas will experience shouldn’t be an issue. It’s rated as one of the safest regions from a climate perspective.

Chicago, Illinois

11. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has its share of issues, but like Detroit, its geographic placement gives it a high resiliency rating for escaping the more harsh effects of climate change. It shares similar features to Detroit and Madison. Climatologists are predicting that the Northeast and Midwest will have plenty of water, but they advise that the outlook is good for avoiding flooding issues. The Great Lakes provides for the moderation of cold temperatures in the winter when compared to other cities without the benefit of large bodies of water.

New York City

10. New York City

New York City is one of the largest cities in the world, and although they’ve had their fair share of environmental issues, the resiliency rate is high. The local government takes the risks of climate change seriously and has employed a comprehensive environmental program that has been in force since enacted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg back in 2007. After subways flooded, the city rose to the occasion to implement changes to provide better protection from its risk factors. This was one of the landscape challenges that the city faced and has dealt with. Experts on climate change view New York as a progressive city that is on top of the landscape challenges and it’s taking steps to protect the low-lying areas from rising seas and the effects of climate change, but in general, except for Lower Manhattan, the remainder of the city is fairly safe from climate change.

State College, Pennsylvania

9. State College, Pennsylvania

State College is another city that is climate-resistant. The average summer temperatures are considered to be mild, with just a few days reaching temperatures over 90 degrees. The winters are also mild when compared to other cities in the New England states. The outlook for water is good with no expected droughts or flooding.

Duluth, Minnesota

8. Duluth, Minnesota

Forbes reports that Duluth is one of the most climate-proof cities in the United States. The geographic features of the region make it less vulnerable to climate change. Any issues that result will be more manageable. Although it’s affected by the fluctuation in Lake Superior’s water levels, it’s rated as safe in comparison to most other cities in the country.

Seattle, Washington

7. Seattle, Washington

The Hill reports that Washington State has taken a leadership role in green energy space. The goal of this Pacific Northwest state is to achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality by the year 2010. This is outlined in a clean energy bill that was passed. Additionally, it set a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045. This is just one of the ways the state is trying to reduce the carbon footprint. This puts Seattle at the heart of the movement. It’s already achieved a 75 percent energy base from renewable resources. The state funds green building standards. You’ll find more electric vehicles on the roads near Seattle.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

6. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Images of the dust bowl may arise when you think about the state of Oklahoma, however, Tulsa has a high resiliency rating for the effects of climate change. It’s landlocked and at a safe distance away from the coast. This protects Tulsa from events caused by sea level rising. Tulsa’s local government has constructed a series of detention ponds designed to prevent flooding damage from devastating storms. Flood insurance in Tulsa is cheaper as a result of these efforts.

Denver, Colorado

5. Denver, Colorado

The Mile High City is at an elevation that protects it from many of the effects and consequences of climate change. Denver is naturally insulated from rising sea levels. Flooding is definitely not an issue in this city. Denver is positioned in a state taking the lead in mitigation of the effects of climate change. Recent legislation sets gas emission goals for reducing the carbon footprint.

Boulder, Colorado

4. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is another city in Colorado that has a low risk of natural disasters due to climate change. It’s at a high altitude of over 5,300 feet, which puts the residents at an advantage for climate change resiliency. The region has an independent agricultural system with a dependable body of water not dependent on melting ice. Water usage is monitored in the area. Weather changes are taken into consideration.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is in an ideal location for escaping the harshest effects of climate change. Although the region has and is expected to experience harsh winters, its placement inland protects the city from hurricanes and flooding. The outlook for the summers in Minneapolis suggests that it won’t experience the extreme heat that many of the other larger cities in the United States will face in the years to come.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Climate change experts believe that Pittsburgh will experience less extreme cold temperatures with an increased growing season. This is good news for farmers in the area. It’s safe from the impacts of hurricanes and will not likely experience drought. The city council has taken steps to enact a climate plan. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions sharply, in line with mandates ordered by the state.

Boston, Massachusetts

1. Boston, Massachusetts

The Balance recommends Boston, MA as one of the best cities to live in if you are concerned about the effects of climate change. Boston is far to the North that protects it from extreme heat. The city also has access to water. The Boston city planners developed extensive plans. They’ve implemented road elevation, man-made marshes for absorbing floodwaters, and reinforced wharves. This action enhances the resiliency of waterfront locales.

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