Sea-level rise is likely to worsen the impacts of hurricanes, storm surges, and tidal flooding on coastal access to basic services. We investigate the historical impact of tidal flooding on mortality rates of the elderly population in coastal Florida using administrative records of individual deaths, demographics, and residential location combined with tidal gauge and high-resolution elevation data. We incorporate data capturing storm and precipitation events into our empirical model to distinguish between disruptions from routine sunny-day flooding and less predictable tropical storm–induced flooding. We find that a 1-standard-deviation (20-millimeter) increase in tidal flooding depth increases mortality rates by 0.46% to 0.60% among those aged 65 or older. Our estimates suggest that future sea-level rises may contribute to an additional 130 elderly deaths per year in Florida relative to 2019, all else being equal. The enhanced risk is concentrated among residents living more than nine minutes away from the nearest hospital. Results suggest that tidal flooding may augment elderly mortality risk by delaying urgent medical care.

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