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More than 18 million rental units are located in areas exposed to extreme weather hazards, according to the American Rental Housing Report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
That exposure isn’t spread evenly. While most states have at least one “high-risk” county with 2,000 or more rental units, many are concentrated in California and Florida.
Harvard researchers paired data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Risk Index with the five-year American Community Survey to find out what units are in the areas that are expected to have an annual economic loss from environmental disasters like wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes and more.
A high-risk area is one with a “relatively moderate,” “relatively high” or “very high” expected annual loss.
“What the map is showing is the number of rental units that are located in areas that have at least moderate risk,” said Sophia Wedeen, research analyst focused on rental housing, residential remodeling and affordability at the Joint Center for Housing Studies.
How many rentals are at risk in California, Florida
Harvard researchers found the number of rental units exposed to climate hazards in the U.S. by combining an area’s risk of economic loss from natural disasters with the number of rental units in those areas, Wedeen said.
Florida, for example, has many rental units as well as census tracts, or neighborhoods, that FEMA identified as having at least moderate risk, Wedeen said. The state appears as a hotspot as a result; the same applies for areas in California.
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California has 4.6 million rental units, or 77% of the state’s rental stock, located in census tracts or neighborhoods that are estimated to face annual economic losses through climate-related…
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