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NPR Analysis Finds Federal Disaster Aid In N.H., Nationwide Favors White Families

Thomas K. Babbit
NHPR file

New data obtained by NPR shows the federal government has bought out more than 60 New Hampshire properties after natural disasters in recent years.

The analysis shows the buyout program disproportionately benefits white and wealthy people.

Read the full NPR investigation and explore the data.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will buy a property prone to flooding to keep taxpayers from funding repeated insurance claims.

This kind of flooding is expected to increase as the climate warms, and federal flood insurance premiums are rising, too. 

In New Hampshire, the data NPR sued to obtain shows FEMA has largely bought homes in communities hit hard by storm-related flooding over the past 10 or 15 years.

For example, there were 10 buyouts in Conway after Hurricane Irene, and 27 in Allenstown over several years after the Mother's Day floods of 2006.

Census data shows these towns are more white but lower-income than New Hampshire at large.

Still, NPR's analysis shows white families of almost any socioeconomic status benefit more from federal disaster aid than black or Latino families.

See where in New Hampshire FEMA has bought out properties in flood-prone areas, and read more from NPR here.

Zoom in and click on the dots to see the year a property was bought by FEMA.

FEMA data provided by NPR. 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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