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10 Facts About Floods – Statistics & Data in 2022

flooded area in the city

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Floods are relatively common around the world. Anywhere there is rain, there is always the possibility of flooding. Whether it comes from ocean waters that surge inland, excessive rain, or an adjacent floodplain, flooding happens in practically any area.

Most floods take a while to develop, while others develop over only a few hours. Flash flooding is particularly dangerous, as it doesn’t give residents much time to evacuate.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the facts and statistics behind flooding.

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The Top 10 Flood Statistics

  1. Flooding causes over $40 billion in damages worldwide each year.
  2. Over 5,000 lives are lost to flooding each year.
  3. In the China River Valley, some of the worst floods in the world have killed millions of people.
  4. Around 250 people each year are affected by flooding in some way.
  5. Flooding makes up 40% of all-natural disasters in the world.
  6. Compared to other weather-related deaths, flooding causes the most fatalities in the U.S.
  7. Texas has the most flooding-related deaths in the U.S.
  8. 17% of urban land in the U.S. is located in a flood zone.
  9. Wetlands cost more than $30 billion in the U.S. alone.
  10. Over the last past century, floods have increased the world over.

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Impacts of Flooding

1. Flooding causes over $40 billion in damages worldwide each year.

(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

Much of this loss include damage and loss of assets. However, loss and later un-usability of land are also considered. For instance, sometimes floods deposit toxic waste onto farming fields that can no longer be used. However, there is also some evidence that the overall damage caused by floods has increased – perhaps because of an increase in human activity in common flood areas. Therefore, the loss of flooding may increase over time.

damages caused by flood
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

2. Over 5,000 lives are lost to flooding each year.

(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

Most of these lives are in lower-income and lower-middle-income areas, though the events themselves are stretched pretty evenly throughout the whole economic ladder. However, deaths have not increased over the years despite an increase in flood events. (In fact, deaths have decreased slightly by a few hundred since the 1980s.)


3. In the China River Valley, some of the worst floods in the world have killed millions of people.

(Britannica)

This is a large flood valley and runs next to the world’s second-largest river. All of this leads to plenty of serious floods. In fact, three consecutive floods killed millions of people historically. Today, the flood still decimates the local population and causes plenty of destruction.

flooded city
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

4. Around 250 people each year are affected by flooding in some way.

(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)

While this counts those that are directly affected by flooding (such as those that lose their houses), it also considers those whose work is affected by flooding. This can include businesses that are flooded, as well as delivery and transport personnel that are affected by flooding. Many people live in areas that are prone to flooding due to the attractiveness of living near rivers, so much of the population can therefore be affected by flooding.


How Often Do Flood Deaths Occur?

5. Flooding makes up 40% of all-natural disasters in the world.

(Flood Safety)

Most natural disasters in the world are caused by flooding. In fact, over 40% of the world’s natural disasters are flooding, which accounts for most of the deaths as well. You’re far more likely to experience a flood than any other natural disaster.

man devastated by the flood
Image Credit: modovisible, Pixabay

6. Compared to other weather-related deaths, flooding causes the most fatalities in the U.S.

(Flood Safety)

Flooding causes about 200 deaths per year in the United States. When compared to other U.S. weather-related deaths, flooding has the most by far.


7. Texas has the most flooding-related deaths in the U.S.

(Flood Safety)

Out of all states in the United States, Texas has the most flooding-related deaths. Most of these flood deaths are vehicle-related. That’s why it is so important not to drive through floodwaters.

flooded road
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

Where Do Floods Occur?

8. 17% of urban land in the U.S. is located in a flood zone.

(American Rivers)

A small percentage of urban land in the U.S. is located in a flood zone. If you have a federally-backed loan in this area, then you must purchase flood insurance. Usually, this costs about $600 a year, which can add quite a bit to your yearly budget.


9. Wetlands cost more than $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

(American Rivers)

Wetlands are where most of the flooding happens in the U.S. Therefore, they are essential to preventing flooding. Obviously, it is not recommended to build on a wetland in the least.

flood in wetlands
Image Credit: bohemianbikini, Pixabay

10. Over the last past century, floods have increased the world over.

(American Rivers)

In the past 50 years, Americans have seen a heavy increase in rain, which has led to increased flooding. Plus, wetlands have decreased substantially over the years, which has also led to more flooding.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Flooding

How Many Floods Are There Per Year?

There are tons of floods each year throughout the USA. We’re talking about thousands of floods per year. Texas had the most floods at 612 last year. California is #2 at 255 per year. There are quite a few other states that also had about 200 floods per year. However, Texas is obviously the most heavily flooded state. (Flood Safety)

How Fast Can a Flood Go?

Water can move at about 9 feet per second, which is the speed for flash flooding. Furthermore, fast-moving water can move a rock of almost a hundred pounds, allowing floods to move cars and even break down walls.

For this reason, flash floods often catch residents by surprise, which causes the most deaths when it comes to flooding. Long-term flooding can also cause deaths, but residents often have the time to evacuate, which allows for many lives to be saved. (Live Science)

bus stranded in a flooded road
Image Credit: charlemagne, Pixabay

How Are Floods Caused?

The most common reason for a flood is heavy rainfall. If too much rain falls, it doesn’t have anywhere to go and ends up spreading through open areas. Rapid snowmelt and storm surges can also cause floods, though these only occur in certain areas. (WHO)

What Damage Can Floods Cause?

Floods can damage anything they touch. The force of the floodwaters and moving debris can break homes, businesses, and other structures. Even things that aren’t outright broken can be damaged by sitting in the floodwaters, as well. Most things are not made to stay underwater for any period of time.

Floods can also pick up toxic debris, which they can then deposit onto the land. As you might imagine, this can damage the land for some time to come. Groundwater can also be contaminated, which can make tap water unsafe to drink.

Telephone poles are often knocked down, leading to problems with power. Even if the floodwater doesn’t instantly bring down the poles, the soggy ground can cause them to fall in the days after the flood. (Tenton County)

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Conclusion

Flooding is very dangerous and happens to be the deadliest weather-related event. Flash flooding tends to be the most dangerous since water moves very quickly and can catch residents by surprise. Other types of flooding can also cause deaths, especially if residents try to drive through flooded areas.

Flooding has increased everywhere over the last few years. This may be due to climate change, but it also has to do with increased urbanization, which has led to fewer wetlands. With fewer areas to suck up the extra water, flooding is far more likely. Flood insurance is necessary for areas that are prone to flooding, but even areas that aren’t may want to get it, considering the increase of flooding.


Featured Image Credit: LucyKaef, Pixabay

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