USA: Public concern about flooding ebbs in area, Kinder survey shows
By Emily Foxhall
Researchers compiling the Kinder Houston Area Survey asked residents what they considered Houston’s biggest problem, and the share who named flooding this year fell to 7 percent from 15 percent last year. Only 1 percent cited flooding as the top problem in 2017, before Hurricane Harvey deluged the state with unprecedented amounts of rain.
Typical of human nature, the preoccupation with flooding fell with time, survey author Stephen Klineberg said. In each of the past three years, the most commonly cited top problem facing the Houston area was traffic, a frustration that residents confront daily.
“It is fair to say that the salience, the preoccupation with flooding, has gone down,” Klineberg said, “because it’s been a year and a half since Harvey.”
The answers showed that enthusiasm for policies involving real estate and development, discussed in the months after Harvey, dropped this year.
The share of people who supported banning new construction in flood-prone areas dropped to 56 percent from 71 percent in 2018. Half favored increased taxes to buy out flooded homes, down from 55 percent last year.
Still, three-quarters of respondents remain “almost certain” that severe storms will continue. About half continue to see climate change as a “very serious problem.”