Using nationwide data collected since 1970, two University of South Carolina researchers have created a map of natural hazard mortality in the United States for publication in the open access International Journal of Health Geographics.
The map represents the likelihood of dying as a result of such natural events as floods, earthquakes and weather extremes, at the county level, throughout the United States. Other useful graphic displays summarize the basic information in the study by region and by cause of death.
The single greatest natural hazard causing death is heat or drought (19.6% of deaths), closely followed by severe weather (18.8%) and winter weather (18.1%), then flooding (14%), tornadoes (11.6%) and lightning (11.3%). Hurricanes and tropical storms, despite widespread perceptions, contribute to less than 2% of deaths.
A preliminary version of the document, complete with interesting graphic displays of the basic information and a reduced map of the results, can be found here in provisional form, and should soon be available in its final publication version at the International Journal of Health Geographics. For a quick abstract summarizing its contents, look here. For a somewhat more expanded brief on the basics of the study, see Science Daily’s report United States Death Map Revealed.
For further interesting information and resources on disaster deaths, see Ilan Kelman’s website item Disaster Death.