Flood victims in the Cedar Rapids area were more likely than Linn County residents, in general, to be low income and be a minority according to an analysis released today by the Iowa Fiscal Partnership. Victor Elias of the Iowa Child and Family Policy Center is among those who’ve reviewed the data.
“About one in ten or about 12,000 residents of Cedar Rapids were directly affected and lived in the flooded area. About 3,000 were children, two-thirds of whom were school-aged,” Elias says. “…The median income in the flooded areas was 74% of the median income of Linn County as a whole.”
The analysis also shows those who were flooded out of their homes were more likely to be renting and the value of the homes that were damaged or destroyed was about two-thirds of the average value of a Linn County home.
“Most pronounced were poverty rates in the area were more than double Linn County as a whole,” Elias says. According to Elias, the data shows the need for state and federal officials to quickly provide financial help to these flood victims as they are unlikely to have insurance or savings to cover flood losses.
“These are the families that are basically living paycheck to paycheck and have the least amount of resources to meet their recovery needs,” Elias says, “and also their most immediate needs.” The Iowa Fiscal Partnership examined responses to other natural disasters and the September 11th attacks. The lessons of those disasters, according to Elias, show the response needs to happen quickly and the rebuilding must be carefully planned.