EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A global analysis of economic inequality and flood losses

Sara Lindersson1, Elena Raffetti1,2, Luigia Brandimarte3, Johanna Mård1, Maria Rusca4, and Giuliano Di Baldassarre1
Sara Lindersson et al.
  • 1Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Economic inequality is today increasing in many contexts. Its consequences are multifaceted and relate to questions of justice, welfare, human well-being and health. Economic inequality also affects (directly or indirectly) society’s vulnerability to flood disasters. Research has previously shown that the ex-ante economic distribution within a country may affect the disaster outcomes. For instance, unequal societies also tend to exhibit spatial marginalization. If these marginalized areas are burdened with neglected infrastructure they also have a lower ability to divert flood water.

Our work highlights the role that economic inequality plays in explaining human flood losses, worldwide. We perform a statistical analysis using data for over a hundred countries and illustrate the importance of considering income distribution when building flood resilient societies. We also show how our results vary between different levels of economic development and discuss implications of our results on disaster research and risk reduction. 

How to cite: Lindersson, S., Raffetti, E., Brandimarte, L., Mård, J., Rusca, M., and Di Baldassarre, G.: A global analysis of economic inequality and flood losses, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7130,, 2022.