Why Has the Population in Hurricane-Prone Areas Grown?

Since 1960, the population in the hurricane-prone coastal region from North Carolina to Texas grew from 14 million to 36 million in 2010, an increase of 163%. Experts attribute this growth to the desire of many people to live near beaches and water, ignorance of the devastation that hurricanes can cause, and advances in building technology that make homes and buildings more resistant to natural disasters. In the United States, federal flood insurance also alleviates some of the financial risk of buying or building a home in hurricane-prone areas, encouraging people to take the risk of living in a community that may be at risk of a natural disaster.

More on living in hurricane-prone areas:

  • Homestead, Florida suffered significant damage during 1992's Hurricane Andrew, and between 1992 and 2010, the town's population more than doubled.

  • The most hurricane-prone areas in the US are Florida, Texas and Louisiana. Since 1851, 113 hurricanes have visited Florida, while Texas and Louisiana suffered 63 and 55 hurricanes, respectively.

  • Not all hurricane vulnerable areas experience a population increase. The population of New Orleans decreased by 25% between 2005 — the year that Hurricane Katrina hit the city — and 2010.
More Info: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

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