More than 1 million US properties to be swallowed by the sea by 2100, report reveals

It highlights the financial impact of climate change.
Deniz Yildiran
Flooded streets in Lismore, NSW, Australia
Flooded streets in Lismore, NSW, Australia


There's no doubt that climate change is real, and another proof ensues each day. For example, NASA has revealed that the largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Mead, is drying up; and the images are, to say the least, horrifying.

To paint a clearer picture, worse examples are expected soon.

A new analysis conducted by Climate Central reveals that rising sea levels endanger a lot more than we thought.

The reports assessing the impact show that more land is at risk of being swallowed by the sea, hence more than one million properties with a total value of $108 billion across 24 states and Washington, D.C.

Sea level rise is clearly messing with the high and low tide lines, which separate the boundaries between public and private property. This is expected to result in the permanent coastal flooding of private properties, which will implicitly put a crimp on the primary source of funding for schools and services provided by local governments, as local property tax revenues will be lost, too.

"The financial impact of sea level rise extends far beyond coastal property owners. Even inland communities may see funding for public services erode as flooded properties come off county tax rolls," said Benjamin Strauss, Ph.D., Climate Central president, and chief scientist.

"By filling critical gaps in knowledge, these data can help to assess which communities are most vulnerable to the economic impacts of sea level rise," said Alice Hill, Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Understanding where and when financial impacts will be most acute can inform action and support at the state and national level, assisting local efforts to maintain critical services and adapt to our changing climate."

Things to change by 2100

4.4 million acres are expected to submerge below the high tide line across the United States by 2050. Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas have the biggest share in the total area lost with 87 percent. On top of that, 30 counties are to lose more than 10 percent of their land.

"As the sea is rising, tide lines are moving up elevation, upslope and inland," Don Bain, the senior adviser at Climate Central told The Washington Post. "People really haven't internalized that yet — that 'Hey, I'm going to have something taken away from me by the sea.'"

There's more to what will probably rock the country's economy.

Over 48,000 properties will entirely sink below their states' tidal boundary levels by 2050, while 64,000 buildings will partially get below the high tide line. The estimates show that almost 300,000 buildings will have their fair share of the rising sea levels by 2100.

Climate Central based its findings upon data from, along with its peer-reviewed sea level rise modeling and mapping tools.