Social and economic vulnerability of coastal communities to sea-level rise and extreme flooding

Daniel Felsenstein, Michal Lichter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


This paper assesses the socioeconomic consequences of extreme coastal flooding events. Wealth and income impacts associated with different social groups in coastal communities in Israel are estimated. A range of coastal flood hazard zones based on different scenarios are identified. These are superimposed on a composite social vulnerability index to highlight the spatial variation in the socioeconomic structure of those areas exposed to flooding. Economic vulnerability is captured by the exposure of wealth and income. For the former, we correlate the distribution of housing stock at risk with the socioeconomic characteristics of threatened populations. We also estimate the value of residential assets exposed under the different scenarios. For the latter, we calculate the observed change in income distribution of the population under threat of inundation. We interpret the change in income distribution as an indicator of recovery potential.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)463-491
Number of pages29
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research is partially based on work done in the SECOA (Solutions for Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas) research project funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme 2007–2013 under Grant Agreement No. 244251.


  • Asset vulnerability
  • Flood hazard zones
  • Income distribution
  • Sea-level rise
  • Social vulnerability


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