Tallying Up The True Cost Of America’s Increasingly Frequent Floods

The toll on communities nationwide is more extensive than you might think. Tallying Up The True Cost Of America’s Increasingly Frequent Floods Giphy

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There have always been areas of the United States that are prone to flooding … but in recent years, we’ve seen a growing number of other regions experience the devastation associated with these natural disasters.

And while the causes of this spike (both in number and severity) in flooding are certainly worth exploring, it’s also important to focus on the huge economic and humanitarian costs associated with the trend.

Experts weigh in

A new report compiled by Democrats serving on the Senate Joint Economic Committee laid out the staggering impact that floods currently have on the nation’s economy. One estimate indicated that the combined national cost is nearly half a trillion dollars each year.

That amounts to roughly 1% of the entire U.S. gross domestic product — and some Americans are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.

In states like Louisiana and Florida, the issue has gotten so bad that many insurance providers are no longer offering flood insurance to residents. And projections indicate that the problem will only become worse as the impact of climate change causes more extreme weather and a rise of the sea level.

Damage being done

As leaders at the local, state, and federal level consider ways to address the current need and prepare for the future, analysts say we should prepare for an astronomical amount of loss — as well as substantial investments in improvements and repairs.

Flood protection efforts could require as much as $345 billion to upgrade infrastructure. Breaking down the estimated annual costs further, experts say:

  • The commercial impact of flooding could reach as much as $40 billion.
  • More than $15 billion could be required to address damage to homes with federally backed mortgages.
  • Sea level rise is linked to nearly $11 billion in residential losses.
Chris Agee
Chris Agee June 11th, 2024
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