December 20, 2017 | IN Information

The Commercial Impact Of Hurricane Harvey On Harris County, TX

By identifying all the businesses in Harris County, TX (Houston area), based on location, and mapping those locations against FEMA’s floodplain maps as well as taking into account other elevation criteria, we are able to quantify the impact of flooding and storm surge from Hurricane Harvey. By looking at business revenue at the affected locations as well as the affected businesses debt and bankruptcy risk, the effects of Harvey become clearer. We also identified home-based businesses to illustrate the extensive exposure of that segment of commercial enterprises.


The above table shows the number of businesses expected to be “wet” in Harris County. The 84,562 businesses identified account for 23 percent of the approximately 375,890 active businesses in Houston as of the end of July 2017.

Of those affected, 55 percent are at a high risk of bankruptcy, while 35 percent have a moderate bankruptcy risk profile. Only 10 percent of Harris County businesses were deemed to be at a low risk of bankruptcy prior to Harvey.


The businesses in Harris County generate roughly $107 billion annually. As you can see from the above chart, 40 percent of those sales ($42.9 billion) are associated with businesses with a high bankruptcy risk. Likewise, 49 percent of the commercial revenue generated within Harris County is associated with businesses in the moderate bankruptcy risk category. The good news is that the larger proportion of sales are attributable to businesses in the 500-year flood plain, which may be able to recover quicker than those in the 100-year flood plain.