Cavan Images

The Coolest Cities for Climate Change in 2022

Which American cities will stay immune to high temps as the climate warms up?

Logan SachonPat Howard 1600

By

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Senior Managing Editor, News & Research

Logan Sachon is the senior managing editor of news and research at Policygenius, where she oversees our insurance and financial news, surveys, and data studies. Previously, she co-founded The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials named one of TIME's 25 best blogs of the year.

&Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance agent at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Published|7 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

This summer is both one of the hottest on record, and the coolest of the rest of our lives. As cities across the U.S. reach record-breaking temperatures, we looked to the data to find out which cities are most likely to stay cool even as the rest of the country warms due to climate change. (We also found the hottest cities for climate change and the best and worst cities for climate change.) 

We looked at the top 50 largest urban areas and compared them across several factors to see which ones will stay (relatively) mild even as temperatures rise in the next 50 years.

Affordable insurance to protect your home no matter where you live

We don't sell your information to third parties.

How we ranked these cities

Using 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, we identified the top 50 most populated metro statistical areas in the country. We then analyzed data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and several other studies across six key factors to determine which of those metro areas were the best and worst for climate change.

For more details, see our full methodology.

  • Heat and humidity. We analyzed data from a 2017 Rutgers University study of U.S. county-level climate projections from 2040 to 2059 to calculate the average days with extreme heat over 95 degrees Fahrenheit and high wet bulb temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Wet bulb temperatures reflect both heat and humidity — a combination that, at extreme temperatures, is deadly. 

  • Social vulnerability. We analyzed data from the University of South Carolina’s Social Vulnerability Index to identify each city’s susceptibility to death, injury, and disruption from natural hazards.

  • Community resilience. We analyzed data from the University of South Carolina’s Social Vulnerability Index to identify each city’s ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions. 

This list is a theoretical suggestion of which cities will be coolest in the coming decades. One reminder: we only looked at the 50 largest urban areas in the U.S. for this list, and there are smaller towns that will be cooler.

The coolest cities for climate change

1. San Jose, California 

San Jose is the coolest large city for climate change, according to our data. Currently, the city sees under one day (.27) of extreme temperatures each year. By 2050, it will have two days per year of extreme temperatures. San Jose has no days of extreme heat and humidity currently, and that is expected to continue even as the other cities in our study gain another 11, on average. In addition to good temps, San Jose’s social vulnerability rank is 1 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 40 (where 50 is more resilient). In fact, San Jose has had a climate plan since 2018. Climate Smart San Jose is based on the targets of the international Paris Agreement

2. Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s current annual average of less than one full day (.37) of extreme heat will increase to four days of extreme heat by 2050. And though Seattle now has no days, on average, of both extreme heat and humidity, by 2021 that number will rise to nearly two days each year. Seattle’s social vulnerability rank is 4 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 35 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). One example of its resiliency: In 2020, Kings County released its Strategic Climate Action Plan, which includes preparation for climate change, including hotter summers.

3. San Diego, California 

It may seem odd that San Diego, known for surfing and beaches, will be one of the coolest cities in the U.S. as the climate warms up, but it’s true. The city will see an increase in number days with extreme heat: from less than one (.37) a year to five days by 2050. But the city will continue to see no days with high heat and humidity, which means it will escape the most dangerous combination during heatwaves. San Diego’s social vulnerability rank is 13 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 45 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). San Diego’s Climate Action Plan puts the city on an accelerated trajectory for reductions in greenhouse gasses, with the goal of net zero by 2035.  

4. Buffalo, New York 

Buffalo will see its extreme heat days rise from under one (.17) per year to three. Of more concern for residents, however, is that the number of days with both high heat and high humidity will increase from one annually to nine by 2050. Buffalo’s social vulnerability rank is 34 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 4 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). In 2019, Mayor Byron Brown declared Buffalo a “Climate Refuge City.” 

5. San Francisco, California 

San Francisco’s famous mild summers will largely continue even as the country warms up due to climate change. While the city currently sees less than one (.6) day of extreme heat per year, that number will increase to nearly three by 2050. Days with high heat and high humidity will increase, though the average will still be under one (from .1 to .6). San Francisco’s social vulnerability rank is 11 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 48 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). The first San Francisco Climate Action Plan was released in 2004, and updated versions address both emissions and social equity. 

6. Providence, Rhode Island 

Providence will see an increase of two more high heat days, on average, per year by 2050, from under one (.13) now to two by 2050. The increase in the number of both high heat and high humidity days will be more stark, rising from under one (.5) to five by 2050.  Providence’s social vulnerability rank is 46 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 13 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). The city has plans for carbon neutrality by 2050, and Providence’s Climate Justice Plan outlines steps to ensure the transition is just and equitable. 

7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh sees less than one (.77) high heat day and nearly two high heat and high humidity days on average each year. In 30 years, it will have nearly 10 high heat days and 13 high heat and high humidity days per year. Pittsburgh’s social vulnerability rank is 21 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 5 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan includes several goals by 2030, including 100% renewable energy in city facilities and divestment of the city pension fund from fossil fuels. 

8. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport has less than one (.6) full day of extreme heat per year; by 2050, it will have over five. It will see a nearly five-fold increase in the number of high heat and high humidity days, from four to nearly 20. Bridgeport’s social vulnerability rank is 5 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resiliency rank is 24 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). Bridgeport city and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council have collaborated on BGreen 2020, a plan to modernize the city’s infrastructure, develop green industries, and more. 

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis has an average of two extreme heat days per year. By 2050, it will have 15. Its current average of four high heat and high humidity days will increase to 19 by 2050. Minneapolis’s social vulnerability rank is 7 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is also 7 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan includes goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and generate 10% of the city’s electricity from local and renewable sources by 2025. 

10. Portland, Oregon 

Portland currently has four days of extreme heat per year, on average. By 2050, it will have 13. The Rose City’s annual average of one high heat and high humidity day per year will increase to nine by 2050. Portland’s social vulnerability rank is 19 out of 50 (where 50 is more vulnerable) and its community resilience rank is 26 out of 50 (where 50 is more resilient). Portland created the country’s first city-wide plan to cut carbon emissions in 1993. It aims to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. 

Ready to shop home insurance?

Start calculator

Moving and homeowners insurance

If you’re considering moving to a cooler city to escape rising temps, you should consider insurance costs in addition to real estate prices as you shop for property. While the average homeowners insurance policy in the U.S. costs $1,899 per year, homeowners insurance rates vary substantially by ZIP code, from $479 a year in 96818 in Honolulu, Hawaii up to $5,931 a year in 33012 in Hialeah, Florida. Here are the average homeowners insurance costs in each of our 10 coolest cities:

Table: Homeowners insurance in the coolest cities for climate change

CityAverage annual costAverage monthly cost
San Jose, CA$1,258$105
Seattle, WA$1,195$100
San Diego, CA$1,333$111
Buffalo, NY*$1,186$99
San Francisco, CA$1,533$128
Providence, RI*$1,470$122
Pittsburgh, PA$1,241$103
Bridgeport, CT*$1,571$131
Minneapolis, MN$2,142$179
Portland, OR$858$72
*State data only, city data not available

Ready to shop home insurance?

Start calculator

Methodology

To identify the coolest cities for climate change in the U.S., we analyzed the 50 largest urban areas in the United States across six data points:

We assigned different weights to factors, with the number of days of extreme heat (25%) and the increase in the number of days of extreme heat (25%) getting the most weight. The number of days with high wet-bulb temperatures (15%), social vulnerability score (15%), ad community resiliency score (15%) were rated equally. The increase in the number of wet bulb days was weighted at 10%. The worst ranking cities are directly correlated with a high number of extremely hot and high wet bulb temperature days,  a high social vulnerability score, and a low community resiliency score. 

About Policygenius

Policygenius is the online insurance marketplace combining cutting-edge technology with the expertise of real licensed agents to help people get the coverage they need to protect their family, property, and finances with confidence. Since 2014 we’ve helped over 30 million people shop for insurance and placed more than $150 billion in coverage from our headquarters in New York City and Durham, North Carolina.

Corrections

No corrections since publication.

Authors

Senior Managing Editor, News & Research

Logan Sachon

Senior Managing Editor, News & Research

gray twitter icon linkgray linkedin icon link

Logan Sachon is the senior managing editor of news and research at Policygenius, where she oversees our insurance and financial news, surveys, and data studies. Previously, she co-founded The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials named one of TIME's 25 best blogs of the year.

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray twitter icon linkgray linkedin icon link

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance agent at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Questions about this page? Email us at .