New Maps Show Where Thousands of Affordable Housing Units are Most At Risk from Sea Level Rise Flooding

When coastal communities are planning how to respond to the threat of sea level rise flooding, it’s important to not only identify all the areas that could experience flooding but also the areas that may need extra resources to cope with it.

Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and journalists dedicated to researching climate change and educating the public about the challenges it poses, just released maps that show the location and number of affordable housing units that may be at risk of coastal flooding over the next hundred years. Experts drew on peer-reviewed studies published in leading journals to generate the maps.

When producing the maps, Climate Central researchers made the following startling discoveries:

  1. “The number of affordable housing units at risk from coastal flooding and sea level rise is expected to more than triple (to 25,000 units) over the next three decades.”
  2. “By 2050, virtually every coastal state is expected to have at least some affordable housing exposed to more than one ‘coastal flood risk event’ per year, on average.”
  3. “New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts have the largest share of affordable housing stock and number of units at risk; projections for New York City, Atlantic City, and Boston show that each city could have thousands of units exposed to chronic coastal flooding by 2050.”

The maps are intended to give planners a quick view of the areas that are at risk from coastal flooding in the years to come. They have some limitations however. According to Climate Central, the maps indicate the risk from “permanent future sea level rise,” not the risk from extreme flooding events driven by “erosion, future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, inland flooding, or contributions from rainfall or rivers.”

Climate Central has a series of maps that can give planners and real estate buyers, owners, investors and agents an idea of the risk to all housing units and property in a given area. This site is an absolute must-visit for buyers who want to purchase property in coastal communities.

The Climate Central affordable housing maps and analysis were published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Author: Larry Richardson

Larry Richardson relies on his journalism, real estate, photography and videography experience and education to create and annual editions of "7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions for Buyers, Sellers, Owners & Real Estate Agents." Richardson, an inactive but licensed real estate agent in Florida with a dozen years of experience, also owns, which features YouTube videos with over 10 million views