For decades the federal government has known that climate change will force people in the U.S. to relocate.
But the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster preparedness spending — which includes money to help with relocation — already falls short of the need, experts say. And it’s not flowing out equitably, according to a year-long analysis by Columbia Journalism Investigations in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity and Type Investigations.
The reporting also reveals dozens of communities across the country in recent years — and hundreds over the last generation — bearing the brunt of successive disasters. Many are located near the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf coasts, but the impacts are also felt far from the shoreline.
About this series
The federal government knows that millions of Americans will need to move to avoid the most punishing impacts of climate change, but the country offers little organized assistance for such relocation. When communities ask the government for help, they face steep barriers — a particular problem for communities of color.
Search to see how often a particular county, parish or similar geographic area has been hit by floods, hurricanes or wildfires deemed “major” by the federal government from 1989 through 2017. This table also shows aid FEMA reported sending to counties during that period to mitigate future disaster, the number of properties the agency said were purchased through its flood buyouts, and the percentage of residents living below the poverty line.
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