Press Release

Welch Outlines New Report on Economic Cost of Flooding; Cost to U.S. as much as $496 Billion Each Year 

Jun 12, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.), member of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), shared a new report released this week by JEC’s Democratic staff finding that flooding causes as much as $496 billion in losses each year.   

In July 2023, Vermont experienced several days of nonstop rain, with nearly nine inches of rainfall falling on parts of the state. The torrential rain caused flash flooding, washouts, and mudslides across the state. Homes, businesses, farms, and public infrastructure were damaged, and many were completely destroyed.

“Vermonters know all too well the immense toll flooding can take on our community. This report is a stark outline of the economic costs of a flood—which only measures a fraction the challenges communities endure as they work to recover, long after the flood waters recede. That’s why I’m continuing to fight for more resources for flood recovery and resiliency for Vermont,” said Sen. Welch.

The new analysis found that flooding damage costs an equivalent to 1-2% of U.S. GDP, or $180-$496 billion, each year. Costs include: infrastructure upgrades needed to protect against future flooding; direct and indirect commercial impacts from flooding; structural damages; costs associated with flood-related deaths; decreased tax revenues; damage to ecosystem services; increases in insurance premiums; and crop loss, among other costs. The analysis found that the ongoing impacts of climate change were likely to increase costs in the future. Another recent analysis found that every $1 spent on flood resiliency efforts saves up to $318 in flood-related damages.

Senator Welch serves as a Senate representative to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Congress’s bicameral economic think tank.  

Read and download the full report here