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By Tracey Goins - People of color lose an average of $29K after a natural disaster - Natural disasters cost the U.S. $145B in 2021 Damages caused by natural disasters and recovery efforts have worsened wealth inequality among different ethnicities in the United States. Nearly 50% of U.S. counties experience a disaster each year, and areas that are particularly disaster prone rapidly diminish wealth in those communities. Natural disasters cost the country $145 billion in 2021, and nowhere are the economic and racial inequities of disaster aid more evident than in areas that have experienced urban flooding. While damaged caused by natural disasters may be indiscriminate, the process of recovery, especially depending on who you are, will not be. Why This Matters: Despite national economic loss, white people living in counties with considerable damage from natural disasters accumulate more wealth than their counterparts living in counties without major natural disaster damage. Reportedly their wealth increases in some cases as much as $126,000. Post disaster outcomes among Blacks, Latinos and Asians, the results went the other direction as their net worth decreased by as much as $29,000.

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Tracey Goins

April 22, 2022
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Tracey Goins

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