What influences your family’s choice of hometown?
Love of country music? Surfing the big ones? The South Beach lifestyle?

Disaster risk mapBe careful.  Memphis, Honolulu, and Miami sit atop the list of disaster-prone cities. Check the map of Catastrophic Risk in the United States. The insurance industry has layered the likelihood (in 1999) of specific natural disasters around the country and color-coded the regions from white to dark red.

Charleston, SC, for instance, is at high risk for both hurricane and earthquake. Denver has considerable damage from hail.

So what? Americans have known all this for centuries. Iowa State names their teams the Cyclones; The Earthquakes are San Jose’s soccer team; everyone knows the Miami Hurricanes.

Yes, but will weather risks intensify (for whatever reason) in the coming years? There are many who think so, including the US government and the international insurance industry.

You might want to check which cities are most vulnerable to hurricanes or which are most likely to get severe weather (not necessarily a direct hit) from a hurricane.

The chances that your lives will be ruined by a natural disaster are low, no matter where you live. But the indirect costs can be extremely high. Infrastructure damaged, jobs gone, and the local economy in tatters. State services interrupted and state taxes jumping. Other economic pressures persisting for years.

If those risks are rising, and if you (or your kids) are making location decisions in the next few years check out my Where-To-Live Scorecards to see where is safer.