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Natural Disasters: Which States Are Being Hardest Hit Economically?

According to the latest market report from WalletHub, millions of Americans’ homes, workplaces, and businesses are damaged or destroyed by severe weather each year. From raging wildfires to tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, the U.S. sees its fair share of natural disasters, leaving many in a financial rut and/or having to rebuild from the ground up. The latest of these disasters, Hurricane Ian, may have done as much as $57 billion in damage to Florida and South Carolina; with about 1% of the total industry loss coming from the impacts of Ian's South Carolina landfall. Meanwhile, nine other natural disasters have already caused over $1 billion in damage each during 2022.

WalletHub has taken two metrics to determine among which 50 states are most impacted by natural disasters:

  • Number of climate disasters causing $1 billion+ in damage (1980-2022): Full weight (~50.00 points)
  • Loss amount from climate disasters causing $1 billion+ in damage per capita (1980-2022): Full weight (~50.00 points)

Top 10 States Most Impacted by Natural Disasters 

  1. Mississippi 
  2. Louisiana 
  3. Texas 
  4. Iowa 
  5. Alabama 
  6. Oklahoma 
  7. Kansas 
  8. North Carolina 
  9. Florida 
  10. Missouri 

Top 10 States Least Impacted by Natural Disasters 

  1. Maine 
  2. Alaska 
  3. New Hampshire 
  4. Hawaii 
  5. Utah 
  6. Nevada 
  7. Vermont 
  8. Arizona 
  9. Washington 
  10. Rhode Island 
  11. Massachusetts 

Meanwhile, people in some states are much less prone to having to deal with these tragic events than others. In order to highlight the states most impacted by natural disasters, WalletHub compared metrics with the number of climate disasters causing at least $1 billion in damage since 1980, as well as the loss amount per capita of those disasters.

States Most Impacted by Natural Disasters Rankings

Overall Rank*  State Total Score  Number of Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage (1980-2022)  Loss Amount from Climate Disasters Causing $1 Billion+ in Damage per Capita (1980-2022) 
1 Mississippi 97.50 7 1
2 Louisiana 94.50 11 1
3 Texas 83.97 1 8
4 Iowa 81.90 22 5
5 Alabama 75.81 1 11
6 Oklahoma 73.28 6 12
7 Kansas 71.96 14 10
8 North Carolina 71.47 1 14
9 Florida 69.30 20 9
10 Missouri 68.87 7 15
11 Nebraska 67.54 25 6
12 South Dakota 65.00 38 1
13 Tennessee 60.50 9 21
14 North Dakota 60.50 45 1
15 Illinois 60.28 1 27
16 Georgia 59.95 1 28
17 South Carolina 59.92 13 16
18 Arkansas 59.29 14 18
19 Montana 56.21 35 7
20 Virginia 53.54 10 37
21 Kentucky 51.45 18 22
22 Indiana 51.09 16 25
23 Colorado 49.37 23 17
24 Pennsylvania 48.83 12 42
25 New York 47.56 19 26
26 New Jersey 46.71 24 19
27 Ohio 46.33 16 41
28 Maryland 41.10 21 39
29 Minnesota 38.73 27 20
30 Wyoming 35.97 41 13
31 Wisconsin 32.85 26 32
32 California 31.56 29 31
33 West Virginia 31.21 30 24
34 Connecticut 26.16 31 36
35 Oregon 25.72 32 35
36 Michigan 25.31 28 47
37 Idaho 24.81 38 29
38 New Mexico 23.43 34 38
39 Delaware 23.32 35 34
40 Massachusetts 20.85 33 45
41 Rhode Island 20.35 41 40
42 Washington 18.20 35 49
43 Arizona 18.06 38 46
44 Vermont 17.20 47 30
45 Nevada 15.85 43 50
46 Utah 15.25 44 48
47 Hawaii 12.87 50 23
48 New Hampshire 12.38 46 43
49 Alaska 11.44 49 33
50 Maine 10.40 48 44

 

To read the full report, including more charts and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years' writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News, the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aesthete and loves to read. She can be reached at [email protected]
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