Economic and Racial Inequality in FEMA SFHA Flood Zone Designations

Bottom-up Analysis of Top-down Climate Injustice

Most US Flood Risk is Uninsured

Economic Affluence and FEMA 100-Year Flood Zones

Figure 1: The percentage of flood risk not in FEMA’s SFHA flood zones is shown for a cross tabulation of the Flood risQ Score and the Housing Unaffordability Score.

Racial Composition and FEMA 100-Year Flood Zones

Figure 2: The percentage of flood risk that falls within FEMA’s SFHA flood zones is shown for a cross tabulation of the Flood risQ Score and non-white population percentages.
Figure 3: After controlling for state, population density, total flood risk, coastal versus non-coastal indication, and the Housing Unaffordability Score for ~70,000 census tracts, Asian, Black, Native American, and Latino populations, are only ~29%, ~65%, ~70%, and ~72%, respectively, as likely as white-alone populations to have their flood risk accounted for by FEMA SFHAs. The bars show model estimates per racial category of the percentage of given flood risk captured by FEMA SFHAs, holding all else equal and accounting for control variables. The dashed line indicates the US-wide flood risk that is accounted for by FEMA SFHAs (~24%). Error bars show 99% confidence intervals for each regression estimate.
Table 1: Percentage of tracts are classified as either having more or less than expected flood risk accounted for by an SFHA, by racial composition definitions and by coastal / non-coastal.
Figure 4: Controlling for Housing Unaffordability Score, population density, Flood risQ Score, tract location (coastal vs inland), and a state indicator, an average percentage of flood risk that is covered by a FEMA SFHA at a census tract level is derived. After that estimated conditional average is removed, tracts are classified as either having more or less than expected flood risk covered by an SFHA. Blue/Red Areas: Tracts with more/less than expected coverage. White Outline: Tracts that have >= 80% population share that is white alone. Orange Outline: those with a 25% or higher Black population share.
Figure 5: The same as Figure 4 is shown but in the Bay Area in California, where yellow outlined tracts represent those with at least 25% Asian population share. Tracts with high flood risk that have less SFHA coverage than expected are disproportionately those with larger shares of Asian population.

And Let’s Not Forget, There’s Climate Change

Risk Rating 2.0 Implications and What FEMA Should Do

What The US Housing Market Can Do

Conclusion

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We quantify climate risk, carbon transition risk and social impact for US Fixed Income, covering the full municipal bond and MBS universes

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risQ, Inc.

risQ, Inc.

We quantify climate risk, carbon transition risk and social impact for US Fixed Income, covering the full municipal bond and MBS universes

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