First Advisor

Yu Xiao

Term of Graduation

Winter 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 131 pages)


Since the 1960s, the frequency and cost of floods have, on average, increased in the United States. Concurrent with this increase in flood losses has been an increase in flood insurance claims paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The existing literature shows that participation in the NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS) program successfully lowered flood losses and NFIP insurance claims in the participating communities. In spite of these successes, community participation in the CRS is low and the NFIP is currently more than $20 billion in debt. By identifying factors predicting participation and related barriers to entry into the program, policy-makers could devise strategies to increase program participation, possibly resulting in lower flood losses and insurance claims.

Only a few studies have examined factors that affect a community's adoption and participation in the CRS program. This dissertation provides additional evidence on CRS participation by using data from Texas from 1980 to 2020 to examine factors that predict initial community adoption, which is defined as joining the program in its first three years (from 1991 to 1993), and participation in 2020. Other studies on CRS participation have not explored the influence that program implementation has on CRS participation, nor have they explored whether factors influencing participation change over time. Results showed that the number of flood insurance claims, claims paid per household, population size, educational attainment, share of renters, and poverty rate all have significant effects on an early adopting community's participation in the CRS program in 1991, after the program was implemented. Results of a participation model using 2020 data showed that population density becomes a significant factor for early adopters in 2020. Conversely, population size and poverty rate, which were significant factors in 1991, become nonsignificant in 2020. Regarding subsequent joiner participation in 2020, recent claims paid per household and external influence significantly predict participation.

In addition to analyzing predictors of CRS participation in the program’s initial years and in 2020, this research offers another perspective on CRS participation by analyzing if early adopter communities differ from subsequent joiners using data from the year that each joined. This research shows that early adopters differed from subsequent joiners on population size and share of renters. Collectively, these results suggest that policy-makers would be successful in encouraging communities with higher population densities located near recent flood events to join the CRS. At the same time, non-participant communities located away from clusters of CRS communities will likely require additional incentives to join. In addition, these results suggest that future studies of CRS participation should consider including time of joining in their research design and analysis.


© 2022 Ryan David Eddings

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