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This study compared the per capita annual global incidence rate of disasters caused by natural hazards with the annual world real gross domestic product, GDP (per global capita), as reported during 1961 through 2020.
Sixty (60) values for the world real GDP per global capita (in constant 2015 $USD) were compared to corresponding annual values for global incidence rates for five natural disaster subgroups and then for a total of twelve individual disaster types that comprise the subgroups; each expressed as an annual global incidence rate (in terms of annual incidence per 100,000 persons). Calculations of multiple linear regression, ANOVA, and Pearson’s correlation coefficient were performed for comparing population-adjusted values for GDP to corresponding values.
Four out of five hydrological and meteorological disasters were found to have a positive correlation with GDP. Results of the analysis revealed a relatively high degree of correlation between world GDP and the annual incidence of flood and storm disasters (P = 6.21 × 10−10 and P = 4.23 × 10−4, respectively). The annual incidence of heat waves and cold weather disasters also appeared to correlate with GDP (P = .002 and P = .019, respectively). In comparison, wet landslides indicated no such correlation (P = .862). No significant associations were found among the seven other individual biological, climatological, and geophysical disasters and GDP.
The global incidence of four extreme weather (hydrometeorological) disasters appear to be positively associated with world real GDP during 1961-2020. These findings contradict previous postulates that the risk of disaster incidence is inversely associated with the capacity of the population.