The US was hit by a series of major disasters in 2022. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 18 extreme weather events caused at least $1 billion in damage each. Climate experts have warned for years that more intense weather disasters are expected as global temperatures rise.

The Census Bureau estimate, nearly 1.4 percent of the US adult population, is higher than other estimates. Data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council humanitarian organization, previously estimated that disasters displaced an average of 800,000 US residents a year from 2008 to 2021.

«The United States is not in the least prepared for this,» Garrard said. «Our settlement patterns have not reflected the emerging risks of climate change to the livability of some parts of the country.»

The data showed that more than half a million people who never returned home experienced multiple hardships, including lack of shelter, food, water, sanitation and childcare.

“These are all things that we take for granted in a modern society,” Gerrard added. «Their absence is profoundly detrimental to physical and emotional health, as well as child development.»

The data also showed disparities between people of different economic status, race, and identity. Those making less than $25,000 a year had the highest evacuation rate of any economic group, and Black and Hispanic residents had slightly higher evacuation rates than White residents.

According to the data, adults who identify as LGBTQ were disproportionately affected: 4% of LGBTQIA+ adults had to leave their homes compared to 1.2% of cisgender heterosexual people.

«It’s important to note that many of these people who are LGBTQ often consider themselves socially vulnerable as well, and they really bring a strong intersectional perspective to disaster response preparedness and recovery,» said Michael Mendez, professor of environmental planning and policy. at the University of California, Irvine.

“Much of the LGBT community that is vulnerable and socially more vulnerable to disasters are African American, transgender and low-income,” he said. “This is often why they become invisible in the context of disaster policy and planning and preparedness. People write them off because they don’t need to provide additional resources for this community.»