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Climate Impact Census 


There is currently little information or research on how climate impacts are financially affecting cities and the American public. People and municipalities are coping with numerous impacts causing damaged infrastructure, agriculture and property losses, lost work and, in some cases, relocation costs. These impacts include extreme weather, chronic flooding, fires, drought, and disruptive changes to the ocean environment. Infectious disease, extreme heat, and exacerbated air pollution are harming public health.  


These are just some of the costs of climate change that are being felt by the American public. Many of these costs, particularly those that are not covered by insurance, are not captured by present research. The result is a poor understanding of the impacts of climate change on American communities, a systematic underestimation of climate change costs, and insufficient information for researchers and the public in understanding and adapting to changes.




The Climate Impact Census’s goal is to address these data gaps by surveying uninsured costs and other personal losses that may be related to climate change but not yet identified as such. For municipalities, these might be ‘unreimbursed costs’ that federal and state programs or emergency management funds do not cover, leaving local taxes or municipal bond issuances the only way for cities to address increasing climate change burdens. For individuals, these costs can include but are not limited to lost work, under or uninsured health care costs, debt, and property damages. The Climate Impact Census (CIC) is recording these costs to increase public awareness and enhance the ability of cities to understand, manage, communicate, and adapt to the changes they are experiencing.


The CIC can be used as a tool to help policymakers and individuals identify and understand climate change costs, and learn about best practices and gaps in resilience efforts and funding. It also provides an important tool and resource for community leaders, researchers, and advocates working to address climate change.  


The CIC is not a census in the formal definition of survey analysis, which includes all entities to which the subject of the survey applies. In addition to not surveying the universe of all individuals and cities affected by climate change, CIC data does not represent solely climate change costs, because there are other human influences on the environment, including effects of non-greenhouse gas pollutants, destructive development patterns, and demographic changes that affect the same resources impacted by climate change.   



The Climate Cost Project provides pro bono economic analysis of survey data collected in collaboration with local community advocates and engaged citizens to ensure that they retain individual control over the use and publication of their data. For individual level CIC surveys, no published information will personally identify individuals, and respondents have the ability to take surveys anonymously.



The Climate Cost Project is currently implementing its flooding cost survey, which looks at the economic and personal costs of flooding to individuals and families. The Climate Impact Census will make collected data sets and visualizations publicly available, with the goal of allowing researchers, government planners, and civil society members to have a better understanding of what immediate climate impacts are, and how they are financially impacting different regions of the United States. The CIC is in an early data collection phase. Planning is underway to expand the impacts for which we will be surveying costs. If you have any questions about participating or accessing data from the Climate Impact Census, please contact us at

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