Los Angeles County is the most dangerous area in the United States, According to FEMA

Los Angeles County has been identified as the riskiest county in the United States for natural disasters, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This ranking comes from FEMA’s first National Risk Index, a comprehensive evaluation of all 3,006 counties in the U.S., based on their vulnerability to 18 kinds of natural disasters.

These disasters range from earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires to floods, volcanoes, and tsunamis. Interestingly, Los Angeles County topped this list, highlighting its significant risk exposure​​.

The Implications of the Ranking

It’s essential to clarify that this ranking does not necessarily imply that residents of L.A. County are more likely to experience natural disasters. Instead, the index focuses on the Expected Annual Loss, which quantifies the anticipated economic damage from natural hazards each year.

Additionally, the index considers social vulnerability, broadly defined as the susceptibility of social groups to the adverse impacts of natural hazards, including disproportionate death, injury, loss, or disruption of livelihood​​.

The Comprehensive Nature of the National Risk Index

FEMA’s National Risk Index is a multifaceted and comprehensive tool, incorporating a variety of factors to assess risk. The 18 natural hazards considered in the index include avalanches, coastal flooding, cold waves, droughts, earthquakes, hail, heat waves, hurricanes, ice storms, landslides, lightning, riverine flooding, strong wind, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, wildfires, and winter weather. This broad range of hazards ensures a holistic assessment of the risks faced by counties across the United States​​.

Los Angeles County’s Unique Position

Los Angeles County’s position at the top of this list is particularly notable given its size and population density. The county is known for its diverse geography, which includes urban areas, beaches, forests, and mountains, each presenting unique natural disaster risks. From the frequent wildfires in its hills to the earthquake risks along its numerous fault lines, the county presents a complex and challenging environment for disaster management and mitigation.

Broader Implications and Actions

The findings of the National Risk Index are intended to guide planners and emergency managers at various levels – local, regional, state, and federal – in updating their emergency operations plans. This involves prioritizing and allocating resources, educating homeowners and renters, and encouraging community-level risk communication and engagement. By highlighting areas of high risk, such as Los Angeles County, FEMA aims to foster a more informed and prepared society in the face of natural disasters​​.


Los Angeles County’s ranking as the riskiest county in America for natural disasters serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by densely populated and geographically diverse regions. It underscores the need for continued efforts in disaster preparedness, resource allocation, and community engagement to mitigate the risks and potential impacts of natural disasters. The FEMA National Risk Index stands as a testament to the importance of comprehensive disaster risk assessment and management in today’s world.