Since 2011, the United States has experienced 84 disasters with damages totaling $1 billion or more apiece. All told, billion-dollar disasters in this period resulted in some 2,000 deaths and total damages of more than half a trillion dollars—$657.5 billion in total, or $2,000 for every American. No matter where a disaster strikes, low- and middle-income Americans are least able to prepare for, respond to, and rebuild after a severe weather event.
While climate change effects are felt in all corners of the country, this interactive reflects the counties that declared a federal disaster or emergency for a weather event that caused $1 billion or more in damage. It also shows statistics about median household income, the poverty rate, and the number of times each county declared an emergency or disaster as a result of the most damaging extreme storms and floods; hurricanes and tropical storms; and extreme winter storms from January 2011 through October 2017. During this period, U.S. counties declared emergencies or disasters in order to access federal aid for response and recovery more than 13,000 times.
To view a full-size version of the interactive, click here.
Miranda Peterson is a research associate for Energy and Environment Policy at the Center for American Progress. Howard Marano is a research assistant for Energy and Environment Policy at the Center. Kristina Costa is a senior fellow at the Center.
The authors would like to acknowledge Mat Brady and Shanée Simhoni for their contributions to this product.