Understanding Individual Flood Risk Perceptions and Flood Insurance Choices to Build More Resilient Communities: A Survey of New York City Residents

Publication Type: 
Wouter Botzen
Howard Kunreuther
Erwann Michel-Kerjan
In May 2014 the U.S. government released its Third National Climate Assessment report that outlines mitigation and adaptation strategies to limit otherwise potentially severe impacts of climate change. It calls for proactive adaptation strategies, which are in practice mostly designed and implemented at the local or regional levels. One of the highlighted messages from the report is that “To be effective, decision support processes need to take account of the values and goals of the key stakeholders, evolving scientific information, and the perceptions of risk.” (U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2014). This Issue Brief focuses on better understanding individual flood risk perceptions and flood insurance purchase decisions by homeowners in New York City (NYC). Floods have been the most costly natural hazard in the U.S. and are a major cause of worldwide natural disaster losses. Losses from future flood disasters are likely to increase in the coming years due to further development in hazard-prone areas and climate change impacts such as sea level rise. In a forthcoming brief, we will examine individuals’ decisions with respect to investing in individual physical loss reduction measures.