Hurricane Ida, which struck New York in early September 2021, exposed the region’s vulnerability to extreme rainfall and inland flooding. The storm created massive damage to the housing stock, particularly low-lying units. This post measures the storm’s impact on basement housing stock and, following the focus on more-at-risk populations from the two previous entries in this series, analyzes the attendant impact on low-income and immigrant populations. We find that basements in select census tracts are at high risk of flooding, affecting an estimated 10 percent of low-income and immigrant New Yorkers.
The intensity, duration, and frequency of flooding have increased over the past few decades. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 99 percent of U.S. counties have been impacted by a flooding event since 1999. As the frequency of flood events continues to increase, the number of people, buildings, and agriculture exposed to flood risk is only likely to grow. As a previous post points out, measuring the geographical accuracy of such risk is important and may impact bank lending. In this post, we focus on the distribution of flood risk within the Federal Reserve’s Second District and examine its effect on establishment location decisions over the last two decades.
In our previous post, we identified the degree to which flood maps in the Federal Reserve’s Second District are inaccurate. In this post, we use our data on the accuracy of flood maps to examine how banks lend in “inaccurately mapped” areas, again focusing on the Second District in particular. We find that banks are seemingly aware of poor-quality flood maps and are generally less likely to lend in such regions, thereby demonstrating a degree of flood risk management or risk aversion. This propensity to avoid lending in inaccurately mapped areas can be seen in jumbo as well as non-jumbo loans, once we account for a series of confounding effects. The results for the Second District largely mirror those for the rest of the nation, with inaccuracies leading to similar reductions in lending, especially among non-jumbo loans.
In this post, we discuss the climate-related risks faced by the Federal Reserve’s Second District and compare these with risks faced by the nation as a whole. The comparison helps contextualize the risks while framing them in the broader context of a changing climate at the national level. We show that the continental Second District—an area consisting of New York State, the twelve northern-most counties of New Jersey, and Fairfield County in Connecticut—faces fewer and less severe climate-related physical risks than the nation as a whole. However, the areas that comprise the Second District still rank somewhat high in key risks that include “heat stress.” This holds true especially for New York City.