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Billion-Dollar Housing Markets Flourish in California’s Most Disaster-Prone Cities

Billion-Dollar Housing Markets Flourish in California’s Most Disaster-Prone Cities

Let’s face it: No matter where you choose to live, there’s a chance you could experience a disaster. However, some areas are more dangerous than others, especially when it comes to The Golden State.

When you think about the most disaster-prone cities in California, there’s a lot to consider. The state is synonymous with earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, landslides, and high winds. These are such a concern that people often consider natural disasters when they decide to move to or from this popular state.

As you’ll see from the data presented in this article, many disaster-prone cities have their own risks. For instance, the city of Santa Clara has high FEMA risk scores regarding the potential of earthquakes, high heat, and landslides. In El Centro, there are extreme issues to consider, including an increased risk of earthquakes, heat waves, and a moderate potential for drought. Even in a city like Mountain View, a bastion of class and beauty, some risks include earthquakes, landslides, and wildfires. Needless to say, you really need to weigh your pros and cons before choosing a new place to call home.

In many cases, the risk potential is enough to make many people move out of the city to find safer pastures. Such is the case with Banning, which had close to a 3% population decline since 2017, or Cathedral City, which saw a 3.3% decline. All in all, there’s a lot to think about, whether you already live in California or you’re thinking of moving into the state. Whatever you do, we hope you consider the facts and stay safe. (For similar reading, here’s a look at the 20 most powerful earthquakes in recorded history.)

Methodology

To determine the most disaster-prone cities in California, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on natural hazard risk for U.S. census tracts from the March 2023 FEMA National Risk Index dataset. Cities were ranked based on the average National Risk Index score – a composite risk score of 18 natural hazards: avalanche, coastal flooding, cold wave, drought, earthquake, hail, heat wave, hurricane, ice storm, landslide, lightning, riverine flooding, strong wind, tornado, tsunami, volcanic activity, wildfire, and winter weather – for all census tracts within their borders. Data were aggregated from the census tract level to the city level using spatial boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau’s TIGER/Line program. Supplemental data on the total value of all owner-occupied homes and populations are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Only places with at least 25,000 residents were considered.

50. Coachella, CA

Source: Andy Konieczny / Shutterstock.com

Source: Andy Konieczny / Shutterstock.com
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.4/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $2.9 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -4.7%
  • Total population: 42,279

49. Martinez, CA

Source: yhelfman / iStock via Getty Images

Source: yhelfman / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $8.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -2.1%
  • Total population: 37,093

48. Rohnert Park, CA

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Robert_Ford / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +5.1%
  • Total population: 44,461

47. Lafayette, CA

Source: Meghan Bennett / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Meghan Bennett / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $14.9 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.9%
  • Total population: 25,310

46. Palo Alto, CA

Source: Jennifer Muedder / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Jennifer Muedder / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $47.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +1.2%
  • Total population: 67,901

45. Santa Clara, CA

Source: GerardoBrucker / iStock via Getty Images

Source: GerardoBrucker / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.8/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $31.1 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.7%
  • Total population: 128,058

44. Mountain View, CA

Source: SpVVK / iStock via Getty Images

Source: SpVVK / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 91.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $27.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.6%
  • Total population: 82,132

43. San Pablo, CA

Source: AlessandraRC / iStock via Getty Images

Source: AlessandraRC / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.0/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $2.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +3.9%
  • Total population: 31,907

42. Livermore, CA

Source: Jennifer Wan / Getty Images

Source: Jennifer Wan / Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.1/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $23.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.2%
  • Total population: 87,154

41. Ontario, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.2/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $14.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +3.1%
  • Total population: 176,326

40. Saratoga, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.3/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $28.6 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.8%
  • Total population: 30,771

39. South San Francisco, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.4/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $16.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -2.3%
  • Total population: 65,596

38. Cathedral City, CA

Source: Jeff Shotwell / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Jeff Shotwell / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.3 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -3.3%
  • Total population: 51,964

37. Morgan Hill, CA

Source: pbk-pg / iStock via Getty Images

Source: pbk-pg / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.8/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $11.6 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +5.0%
  • Total population: 45,291

36. Lake Elsinore, CA

Source: Natalia Leen / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Natalia Leen / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $6.8 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +12.5%
  • Total population: 69,993

35. Culver City, CA

Source: stellalevi / iStock via Getty Images

Source: stellalevi / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 92.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $12.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.3%
  • Total population: 40,357

34. Brea, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.0/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $8.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +12.4%
  • Total population: 47,099

33. Calexico, CA

Source: Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo / Moment via Getty Images

Source: Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo / Moment via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.0/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $1.6 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -3.4%
  • Total population: 38,599

32. San Lorenzo, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.4/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +18.6%
  • Total population: 29,759

31. Redwood City, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.4/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $26.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.5%
  • Total population: 83,077

30. Menlo Park, CA

Source: JasonDoiy / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Source: JasonDoiy / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $19.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.0%
  • Total population: 33,324

29. Fremont, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $63.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.9%
  • Total population: 228,795

28. Pleasant Hill, CA

Source: Gado Images / Photodisc via Getty Images

Source: Gado Images / Photodisc via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $9.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.5%
  • Total population: 34,504

27. Watsonville, CA

Source: stockphoto52 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: stockphoto52 / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $4.3 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.9%
  • Total population: 52,457

26. Richmond, CA

Source: Velvetfish / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Velvetfish / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 93.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $13.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +6.2%
  • Total population: 115,619

25. Lathrop, CA

Source: DianeBentleyRaymond / E+ via Getty Images

Source: DianeBentleyRaymond / E+ via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.1/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $3.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +40.8%
  • Total population: 29,633

24. Redlands, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $8.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +3.5%
  • Total population: 73,234

23. Rialto, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $7.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +1.1%
  • Total population: 103,873

22. Chino, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.8/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $9.9 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +6.3%
  • Total population: 91,008

21. Alameda, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $18.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.9%
  • Total population: 77,565

20. San Bernardino, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $11.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.7%
  • Total population: 221,041

19. Milpitas, CA

Source: Andrei Stanescu / Getty Images

Source: Andrei Stanescu / Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 94.9/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $18.4 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +4.8%
  • Total population: 79,092

18. San Leandro, CA

Source: Todd Sanchez / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Todd Sanchez / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.0/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $13.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.2%
  • Total population: 89,723

17. Temescal Valley, CA

Source: HadelProductions / iStock via Getty Images

Source: HadelProductions / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.3/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.1 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +11.1%
  • Total population: 28,227

16. Highland, CA

Cityscape of Redlands and Highland, California taken from Panorama Drive, Redlands. San Bernardino National Forest. San Bernardino Mountains. San Gorgonio Mountains. Santa Ana River. Seven Oaks Dam
Source: BZK Photos / Shutterstock.com

Source: BZK Photos / Shutterstock.com
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.3/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $4.6 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +3.8%
  • Total population: 56,789

15. Colton, CA

Source: David Toussaint / Moment Open via Getty Images

Source: David Toussaint / Moment Open via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $3.4 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.4%
  • Total population: 53,959

14. Gilroy, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $10.1 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +8.4%
  • Total population: 58,696

13. San Jacinto, CA

Source: magaro / iStock via Getty Images

Source: magaro / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $3.8 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +15.2%
  • Total population: 54,077

12. Pleasanton, CA

Source: (c) Salil Bhatt / iStock via Getty Images

Source: (c) Salil Bhatt / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 95.8/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $28.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -0.8%
  • Total population: 78,691

11. Yucaipa, CA

Source: Solidago / Getty Images

Source: Solidago / Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 96.3/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.8 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.4%
  • Total population: 54,428

10. Santa Paula, CA

Source: hlehnerer / iStock via Getty Images

Source: hlehnerer / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 96.4/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $2.4 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +1.5%
  • Total population: 30,788

9. Hayward, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 96.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $22.3 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.3%
  • Total population: 160,602

8. Dublin, CA

Source: yhelfman / iStock via Getty Images

Source: yhelfman / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 96.8/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $19.9 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +24.6%
  • Total population: 71,068

7. Hollister, CA

Source: Derek_Neumann / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Derek_Neumann / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 97.5/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $4.8 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +13.2%
  • Total population: 42,093

6. Banning, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 97.6/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $2.3 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -2.9%
  • Total population: 29,929

5. Newark, CA

Source: travelview / iStock via Getty Images

Source: travelview / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 97.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $11.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +4.2%
  • Total population: 47,470

4. Brawley, CA

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 97.7/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $1.2 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +2.1%
  • Total population: 26,509

3. Eureka, CA

Source: Janine Moore-Williams / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Janine Moore-Williams / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 98.1/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $2.0 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: -1.9%
  • Total population: 26,519

2. Beaumont, CA

Source: Lightguard / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Lightguard / iStock via Getty Images
  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 98.2/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $5.5 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +22.7%
  • Total population: 53,544

1. El Centro, CA

  • FEMA National Risk Index score: 98.3/100
  • Total value of owner-occupied homes: $1.7 billion
  • Population change, 2017 to 2022: +0.6%
  • Total population: 44,184
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