MoneyGeek Analysis:

Cities With the Most (& Least) Climate Risk Today

ByLucia Caldera

Updated: December 20, 2022

ByLucia Caldera

Updated: December 20, 2022

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Depending on where you live, your home may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of climate risks. If you live in a city with a significantly higher risk of hazards like hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes than others, you could be more likely to experience catastrophic damage to your home. Understanding your risk is a crucial part of determining your home insurance needs, so you’re covered if the unthinkable happens.

MoneyGeek analyzed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data for 377 metropolitan areas to find the cities in the U.S. with the most (and least) climate risk. These insights can help homeowners better understand their hazard, flood and earthquake insurance needs and secure the coverage necessary to protect their homes.

Key Findings:
  • Mississippi’s greater Gulfport area has the highest expected per capita risk, with an annual expected loss of $1,038 per person; it also has the third-highest annual expected losses ($385 million).
  • Of the metros with the most per capita risk, Texas’s Houston metro area has the largest annualized climate risk in the U.S. ($2.2 billion), followed by Louisiana’s greater New Orleans area ($477 million).
  • Connecticut's greater New Haven area has the lowest per capita risk of any large metropolitan area at $13 per person. The Laredo, Texas area has the lowest per-capita climate risk overall at $9.55 per person.
  • Tornadoes are the top climate risk in 304 metropolitan areas, making them the climate hazard impacting the most metros; of these, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has the most risk overall.

15 Cities With the Most & Least Climate Risk Per Person


Cities With the Highest Climate Risk

As hurricanes become stronger every season, Mississippi’s greater Gulfport area leads MoneyGeek’s list of the worst cities for natural disasters with an expected per capita cost of $1,038 per person. The following two spots on the list belong to California’s Napa and Yuba areas, where homeowners face significant annual losses due to droughts.


Cities With the Lowest Climate Risk

According to FEMA data, the Laredo, Texas area offers its residents the least climate risk. The greater New Haven area and the greater Providence metro area are the next two best places for climate change — both with low annual expected climate-related costs of less than $15 per person.


Risk by Type of Hazard

The most significant climate hazards across U.S. cities are earthquakes, tornadoes and riverine flooding. When it comes to earthquakes, the Los Angeles metro area suffers the greatest risk overall. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is at the highest overall risk of tornadoes, and the Houston metro area is the riskiest place for riverine flooding.

The following definitions are key to understanding the risks that each type of weather emergency represents:

  • Metro With Greatest Risk Overall: These are the cities with the largest total expected losses due to each type of hazard.
  • Metro With Greatest Risk Per Capita: Based on population size and greatest potential hazards, these are the cities with the largest risk per person.
  • # of Metros’ Greatest Risk: The number of cities where this hazard poses the most climate risk.
  • & of National Risk: Each hazard’s expected national losses as a percentage of total expected losses.
Metro Area Climate Risk by Hazard

How Homeowners Can Prepare for Climate Risk

Understanding local climate risks can help homeowners budget for the cost of home insurance coverage. These will vary greatly depending on your city’s vulnerability to weather conditions, as well as the age and durability of your home.

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Severe weather can strike at any time. No matter where you live, FEMA urges homeowners to take the following steps as part of their weather preparedness plan:

  • Become familiar with the risks that are most likely to affect your city.
  • Create and practice your family’s emergency plan.
  • Maintain proper inventory of your assets.
  • Keep an emergency kit handy.
  • Take steps to weatherproof your property.
  • Make sure you’re signed up for local weather alerts.
  • Set up an emergency fund.
  • Get adequate, affordable home insurance or renter’s insurance coverage.

If you live in one of the worst cities for climate change, you may find it challenging to get affordable coverage through the voluntary insurance market. The Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan makes it possible to purchase coverage through your state administrators. The cost of these plans is often higher than private insurance, but they provide coverage when no other options are available.

Expert Insights

Climate change poses a significant risk to cities and homeowners across the country — whether it's through flooding, wildfires, extreme heat or severe cold. MoneyGeek interviewed climate risk experts to reveal how extreme weather is increasing in America and what homeowners can do to protect their homes.


Full Data Set

This complete data set provides a general overview of MoneyGeek’s analysis and each metro area’s ranking. It’s a comprehensive outlook of how natural disasters vary from one place to another while offering an overall breakdown of climate risk in the U.S.

The table below uses the following terminology to evaluate climate risk across the country:

  • Metro: The full name of each metropolitan area as defined by FEMA.
  • Expected Loss per Capita: Total expected losses per person based on population size and greatest potential hazards.
  • Annual Expected Losses: A forecast of how much natural disasters will cost each metro area yearly in millions.
  • Greatest Potential Hazard: The hazard with the largest expected loss for the metro area.
  • % Building Losses: The percentage of the Annual Expected Losses associated with building damage and losses.
  • % Life Lost: The percentage of the Annual Expected Losses associated with injury and loss of life using a value of statistical life of $7.4 million.
  • % Agricultural: The percentage of the Annual Expected Losses associated with loss of agricultural production.


MoneyGeek utilized FEMA’s National Risk Index datasets to calculate and compare the annual expected losses for each metro area. MoneyGeek calculated per capita risk using the population as of 2016.

About Lucia Caldera

Lucia Caldera headshot

Lucia Caldera has 10 years of experience in financial planning, managing and advising. As the Founder of Corporate Media Lab, she uses her background in personal finance to create approachable content that sparks financial wellness and unlocks growth for her audience.

Lucia holds a master’s in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University and a bachelor’s in Economics from Clark University. Her work reflects her passion for financial education as the key to reducing the wealth gap for women and minorities.