The coastline from Texas to North Carolina is most at risk of a hurricane, and in those states, the population of coastal counties is 27 million.
Hurricanes occasionally strike farther north, but despite hurricane Sandy's damage in 2012, such events are considerably less common than hurricanes in the southern states. Yet that does not make the damage any less catastropic. Early estimates place the damage from Hurricane Sandy at about 400,000 housing units damaged or destroyed, the majority of which were in New York (more than 300,000), New Jersey (approximately 70,000), and Connecticut (approximately 3,000).
While Sandy was more recent, and turned the lights off for more people, hurricane Katrina left more fatalities and damaged homes in her wake.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that in the summer of 2005 hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma damaged "more than one million housing units across five states." Of the damaged homes 515,000 were in Louisiana, 220,000 in Mississippi, and nearly 140,000 in Texas.
State of Preparedness
While more than 80 percent of homes in the U.S. have a food supply sufficient for at least 3 days, only about half have a water supply in the event of an emergency.
The Bureau of Labor statistics now has an online hurricane mapper tool that provides wage,employment, and establishment data for potential flood zones.