The unsustainable trend of natural hazard losses in the United States

Melanie Gall, Kevin A. Borden, Christopher T. Emrich, Susan L. Cutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the United States, direct losses from natural hazards are on the rise with hurricanes, flooding, and severe storms contributing about three quarters of the total damages. While losses from severe storms have been stable over the past fifty years, hurricane and flood losses have tripled. Per capita losses are also increasing showing that impacts outpace population growth with high per capita losses occurring largely in the Southeast and Midwest. If the loss escalation of the past two decades continues into the future, then direct losses of $300 to $400 billion within a single decade are possible. In order to reverse this trend, sustainable development, vulnerability reduction, and hazard mitigation must become priorities and current loss reduction efforts need to be evaluated and re-assessed in terms of their effectiveness. These conclusions are drawn from the analysis of spatial and temporal trends in direct losses from natural hazards using SHELDUS™ data from 1960 through 2009. Loss data are adjusted for inflation, population, and wealth to capture both trends in total losses and per capita losses. The loss data are then compared to disaster-related federal government and private insurance expenditures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2157-2181
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability
Volume3
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

natural hazard
Hazards
trend
escalation
population growth
Federal Government
inflation
insurance
disaster
natural disaster
sustainable development
vulnerability
damages
expenditures
Hurricanes
loss
hurricane
Insurance
Disasters
expenditure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Gall, M., Borden, K. A., Emrich, C. T., & Cutter, S. L. (2011). The unsustainable trend of natural hazard losses in the United States. Sustainability, 3(11), 2157-2181. https://doi.org/10.3390/su3112157

The unsustainable trend of natural hazard losses in the United States. / Gall, Melanie; Borden, Kevin A.; Emrich, Christopher T.; Cutter, Susan L.

In: Sustainability, Vol. 3, No. 11, 01.12.2011, p. 2157-2181.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gall, M, Borden, KA, Emrich, CT & Cutter, SL 2011, 'The unsustainable trend of natural hazard losses in the United States', Sustainability, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 2157-2181. https://doi.org/10.3390/su3112157
Gall, Melanie ; Borden, Kevin A. ; Emrich, Christopher T. ; Cutter, Susan L. / The unsustainable trend of natural hazard losses in the United States. In: Sustainability. 2011 ; Vol. 3, No. 11. pp. 2157-2181.
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