The Top 10 States for Natural Disasters (and Florida Isn’t One of Them)

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Mobile homes destroyed by Hurricane Ian Fort Myers, Florida.
Felix Mizioznikov /

As memories of Hurricane Ian remain fresh in our minds, some Americans are probably grateful that they don’t live in Florida.

But as it turns out, the Sunshine State is not a bad place to be if you are trying to avoid natural disasters.

For starters, it’s not necessarily true that climate change is likely to increase the number of hurricanes. In fact, there have been fewer hurricanes as the earth has warmed, although some of the storms that do occur appear to be more intense.

In addition, Florida is far down on the list of states most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to an analysis of occurrences from 2011-2021 by the nonprofit Rebuild By Design. It doesn’t even make the top 25, although it does rank No. 9 in terms of the cost to the federal government in disaster relief.

In truth, it’s difficult to escape natural disasters, no matter where you live. About 90% of U.S. counties experienced a federal climate disaster between 2011 and 2021, according to the analysis. Some counties had as many as a dozen disasters during that time.

Following are the states where you are at the greatest risk of a natural disaster.


Wildfire approaching a house
David A Litman /

Disaster declarations in this state between 2011-2021: 25

These days, it’s hard to think of California without conjuring images of wildfires. About 2.04 million properties in the Golden State are at risk of wildfire damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The No. 2 state — Texas — has 717,800 properties at risk, less than half the number in California.

Mississippi (tie)

Hurricane Katrina bridge damage near Biloxi, Mississippi
Robert A. Mansker /

Disaster declarations in this state between 2011-2021: 22

Mississippi is at risk from hurricanes on the Gulf Coast and flooding along the Mississippi River and other rivers. Tornadoes also can strike the Magnolia State.

Learn more about natural disaster risk in “10 U.S. Counties at Highest Risk From Natural Disasters.”

Oklahoma (tie)

Two tornadoes strike in northern Oklahoma farmyards near Cherokee.
Eugene R Thieszen /

Disaster declarations in this state between 2011-2021: 22

Oklahoma is part of Tornado Alley, a region of the country in the central U.S. where twisters are especially common. The Sooner State was part of a weeklong outbreak of 147 confirmed tornadoes in May 2008.

Winter storms — including ice storms — and flooding also occur here.

The rest of the top 10

Flooding in Davenport, Iowa
gibbstechsolutions /

Here are the rest of the top 10 states most vulnerable to natural disasters:

  • Iowa: 21
  • Tennessee: 20
  • Louisiana: 18
  • Alabama: 17
  • Texas: 17
  • Vermont: 17
  • West Virginia: 17

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