Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

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Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle - Center for ...

One overlooked aspect of these disasters, however, is the rate at which they harmmiddle- and lower-income households—people who are less able to quickly recoverfrom such disasters. This Center for American Progress analysis finds that on average,counties with middle- and lower-income households were harmed by many ofthe most expensive extreme weather events in 2011 and 2012. (see Table 1)Table 1Billion Dollar Extreme Weather Events by category, January 2011through October 2012Type of extremeweatherEvents with damagestotaling $1billion or moreFatalitiesEstimated economicdamages(in billions of2012 dollars)Estimated damagesper household in affectedcounties (in2012 dollars)Estimated medianhousehold incomeof affected counties(in 2012 dollars)Estimated percent differencebetween disaster area medianhousehold income and U.S.median incomeFloods 2 12 $5 $720 $44,547 -14%Droughts and heatwaves2 181 $40 - $88 N/A* $49,340 -5%Wildfire** 2 12 $2 $355 $50,410 -3%Severe thunderstorms,tornadoes,hail and/or wind10 590 $33 $1,022 $50,293 -3%Winter storms 1 36 $2 $186 $51,977 0.1%Tropical storms andhurricanes4 183 $43 $1,056 $59,155 14%Note: U.S. Median household Income: $51,914; Median income figures are Census Bureau 2005-2010 average*Drought primary affects farmers, so damages per household was not calculated.**Wildfires defined by NOAA as entire seasons costing $1 billion, rather than individual fires. States included incurred at least $50 million incosts from wildfires in 2012.Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; U.S. Census Bureau; National news outletsMost of these extreme weather events typically harmed counties with householdincomes below the U.S. median annual household income of $51,914:• Floods damaged households in affected counties with average householdincomes of $44,547 annually—14 percent less than the U.S. median income• Drought and heat waves affected counties with households that earned an averageof $49,340 annually—roughly 5 percent less than the U.S. median income.• Wildfires, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms devastated areas with householdsthat earned an average of $50,352 annually—3 percent less than the U.S.median income.2 Center for American Progress | Heavy Weather: How Climate Destruction Harms Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

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