ODU releases survey on flooding in Hampton Roads

NORFOLK, Va. - Hampton Roads and flooding go hand-in-hand, but just how many people see it as an issue where they live?

Old Dominion University says only about 25 percent say it's a recurring issue in their neighborhood.

That number comes from the university's latest Life in Hampton Roads survey, which asks people in all seven of the region's cities questions covering a number of topics, including flooding.

25 percent is down from around 33 percent in last year's survey.

“We just might have kind of hit fewer people that are in neighborhoods that have problems with flooding this year. We have kind of seen it decline over the past five years," said Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, Director of ODU's Social Science Research Center.

Findings differ when broken down from city to city. The study found nearly 40 percent of people surveyed in Portsmouth saw flooding as a recurring issue. Just 12 percent in Suffolk.

Courtesy: ODU

As for flood insurance -- about 30 percent of respondents said they had it with a little more than half saying their homeowner's or renter's insurance covers flooding.

Courtesy: ODU

Of the 822 people surveyed, just under 67 percent said they own or are in the process of buying their own home. 28.6 percent said they rented with the rest saying they had other arrangements.

Researchers say this information is important because it gives decision-makers and city leaders an idea of what people are saying when it comes to the flooding issue.

“I think we need to be aware of what people think, what their perceptions are," said Vandecar-Burdin. "Just because faculty here and elsewhere do a lot of research on sea-level rise and flooding, if people don’t think it’s a problem, then that’s an issue we need to work a little bit on communicating with people about the risks of flooding and what that’s going to look like in 5, 10, 20, 25 years.”

The survey was conducted between May and July of this year.

ODU expects release responses to political and transportation-related questions sometime in January.

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