In the Eye of the Storm: Hurricanes, Climate Migration, and Climate Attitudes

Sabrina B. Arias, Christopher W. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate disasters raise the salience of climate change's negative consequences, including climate-induced migration. Policy action to address climate displacement is especially contentious in the United States, where weak support for tackling climate change intersects with high opposition to migration. Do climate disasters foster receptivity toward climate migrants and broader willingness to combat climate change? To study this question, we leverage the occurrence of Hurricane Ian during fielding of a preregistered survey in autumn 2022. Hurricane exposure increased concern about and support for policies to address climate migration. Hurricane exposure also increased support for climate action and belief in anthropogenic climate change. Effects of hurricane exposure cross-cut partisanship, education, age, and other important correlates of climate attitudes but decay within 6 months. Together, these results suggest that climate disasters may briefly increase favorability toward climate migrants and climate policy action but are unlikely to durably mobilize support even in severely impacted areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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