State Ranks High On Federal Disaster Spending

West Virginia Public Broadcasting: A new analysis looks at the impact of climate change over the last decade. Despite its size, West Virginia ranks high in disaster spending.

According to FEMA data, West Virginia had the 6th highest per capita spending on climate disasters in the country over the last decade, totaling $870 million or $481 per person.

Between 2011 and 2021, 90 percent of U.S. counties experienced a federal climate disaster. During that time period, every county in the state had a disaster declaration. Some had as many as 10.

The analysis, titled Atlas of Disaster, comes from Rebuild By Design, a collaborative focused on preparing communities for the challenges of climate change rather than reacting to them.

Rebuild by Design began as a design competition, launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with nonprofits and the philanthropic sector, in response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on the eastern U.S.

They suggest that strategic investment in climate infrastructure in 15 vulnerable West Virginia counties may have the greatest return, focusing on a dozen counties stretching from Greenbrier County across the state to Wayne County. Listen to this story>>