The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 21–46 | Cite as

Did natural disasters affect population density growth in US counties?

  • Chunhua WangEmail author
Original Paper


This paper examines the long-run effects of natural disasters on population density growth across US counties during the period of 1960–2000. Detailed data for measuring the number and intensity of three types of major natural disasters (earthquake, tornado, and hurricane) are collected and incorporated into the empirical models. We do not find any significant adverse long-run growth effects of natural disasters. Weak evidence of minor tornadoes being positively correlated to growth is provided. Results also indicate that disasters have negligible indirect effects on county population density growth through impacting the county characteristics.

JEL Classification

Q54 R11 



This paper is based on a chapter of my PhD dissertation at Oregon State University. I thank Edward Rappaport for explaining the hurricane data and Jordan Rappaport for sharing his county-level socioeconomic data. Thanks also to Steven Brakman, Munisamy Gopinath, Ingmar R. Prucha, Jordan Rappaport, JunJie Wu, seminar participants at various institutions, three anonymous referees, and the editor for helpful comments and suggestions. Gina Wang provided excellent assistance in assembling the datasets. The research is partially supported by China Institute for WTO Studies, UIBE (Grant #: 13ZXWTO04). The usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Antai College of Economics and ManagementShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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