Mapped: The Deadliest Earthquakes of the 21st Century
On September 8, 2023, a powerful earthquake rocked Morocco. With its epicenter located in the Atlas Mountains and structural damage being done to the historical city center of Marrakesh, the 6.8-magnitude quake will likely have a death toll in the thousands.
With these recent events in mind, we use data from the National Centers for Environment Information (NCES) to map out the epicenters of the nine deadliest earthquakes in the 21st century so far, by their total death toll. This includes casualties from secondary events—like tsunamis—after each earthquake.
Earthquakes By Death Toll (2000–2023)
We delve into some of the deadliest earthquakes in recent history.
On January 12th, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the capital Port-au-Prince. The earthquake’s shallow epicenter—only six miles beneath the surface—caused most of the force to be directed close to where people lived. By the end of the month, after 52 aftershocks rocked the island, the disaster had claimed more than 300,000 lives—the deadliest earthquake in the 21st century thus far.
The extensive destruction led to global support, but slow recovery sparked criticism of government inaction. In 2017, the UN reported 2.5 million Haitians still required aid.
December 26th, 2004: A 9.1 earthquake occurred off the coast of Indonesia, deep under the ocean. It was the strongest earthquake in this century and the third-most powerful since 1900.
It triggered the worst tsunami recorded in history, causing 230,000 deaths mainly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India.
Here’s a list of the deadliest earthquakes, by death toll, in the 21st century.
|1||Jan, 2010||🇭🇹 Haiti||316,000||7.0|
|2||Dec, 2004||🇮🇩 Indonesia||227,899||9.1|
|3||May, 2008||🇨🇳 China||87,652||7.9|
|4||Oct, 2005||🇵🇰 Pakistan||76,213||7.6|
|5||Feb, 2023||🇹🇷 Türkiye||56,697||7.8|
|6||Dec, 2003||🇮🇷 Iran||31,000||6.6|
|7||Jan, 2001||🇮🇳 India||20,005||7.6|
|8||March, 2011||🇯🇵 Japan||18,428||9.1|
|9||April, 2015||🇳🇵 Nepal||8,957||7.8|
|10||May, 2006||🇮🇩 Indonesia||5,749||6.3|
|11||Sep, 2018||🇮🇩 Indonesia||4,340||7.5|
|12||May, 2003||🇩🇿 Algeria||2,287||6.8|
|13||Aug, 2021||🇭🇹 Haiti||2,248||7.2|
|14||April, 2010||🇨🇳 China||2,220||6.9|
|15||March, 2005||🇮🇩 Indonesia||1,313||8.6|
|16||Sep, 2009||🇮🇩 Indonesia||1,117||7.5|
|17||June, 2022||🇦🇫 Afghanistan||1,039||5.9|
|18||March, 2002||🇦🇫 Afghanistan||1,000||6.1|
|19||Jan, 2001||🇸🇻 El Salvador||844||7.7|
|20||Sep, 2013||🇵🇰 Pakistan||825||7.7|
|21||July, 2006||🇮🇩 Indonesia||802||7.7|
|22||April, 2016||🇪🇨 Ecuador||663||7.8|
|23||Nov, 2022||🇮🇩 Indonesia||635||5.6|
|24||Nov, 2017||🇮🇷 Iran||630||7.3|
|25||Feb, 2004||🇲🇦 Morocco||628||6.4|
|26||Aug, 2014||🇨🇳 China||615||6.2|
|27||Feb, 2005||🇮🇷 Iran||612||6.4|
|28||Oct, 2011||🇹🇷 Turkey||604||7.1|
|29||Aug, 2018||🇮🇩 Indonesia||560||6.9|
|30||Feb, 2010||🇨🇱 Chile||558||8.8|
|31||Aug, 2007||🇵🇪 Peru||514||8.0|
|32||Oct, 2010||🇮🇩 Indonesia||431||7.8|
|33||Oct, 2015||🇦🇫 Afghanistan||399||7.5|
|34||Sep, 2017||🇲🇽 Mexico||369||7.1|
|35||Feb, 2001||🇸🇻 El Salvador||315||6.6|
|36||April, 2009||🇮🇹 Italy||309||6.3|
|37||Aug, 2012||🇮🇷 Iran||306||6.5|
|38||Aug, 2016||🇮🇹 Italy||299||6.2|
|39||June, 2002||🇮🇷 Iran||261||6.5|
|40||Feb, 2003||🇨🇳 China||261||6.3|
|41||Oct, 2013||🇵🇭 Philippines||222||7.1|
|42||Oct, 2008||🇵🇰 Pakistan||215||6.4|
|43||April, 2013||🇨🇳 China||196||6.6|
|44||Sep, 2009||🇼🇸 Samoa Islands||192||8.1|
|45||Feb, 2011||🇳🇿 New Zealand||185||6.1|
|46||May, 2003||🇹🇷 Turkey||177||6.4|
|47||March, 2002||🇦🇫 Afghanistan||166||7.4|
|48||Feb, 2018||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||145||7.5|
|49||Oct, 2020||🇬🇷 Greece||118||7.0|
|50||Sep, 2022||🇨🇳 China||118||6.6|
|51||May, 2015||🇳🇵 Nepal||117||7.3|
|52||Feb, 2016||🇹🇼 Taiwan||117||6.4|
|53||Sep, 2011||🇮🇳 India||111||6.9|
|54||Jan, 2021||🇮🇩 Indonesia||105||6.2|
|55||March, 2011||🇲🇲 Myanmar||104||6.8|
|56||Dec, 2016||🇮🇩 Indonesia||104||6.5|
|57||June, 2000||🇮🇩 Indonesia||103||7.9|
|58||June, 2001||🇵🇪 Peru||103||8.4|
Türkiye and Syria, 2023
February 6, 2023: Two earthquakes, also with shallow epicenters (5 miles deep), hit the border region between Türkiye and Syria, causing widespread damage in both countries and claiming more than 50,000 lives. Bad weather conditions—including snow, ice, and winter storms—inhibited search and rescue efforts.
In Syria, international sanctions prevented foreign charities and families from sending money to the country, which led to the U.S. suspending the sanctions for 180 days.
March 11, 2011: Another undersea earthquake—also 9.1 magnitude—occurred off the coast of Japan, triggering a deadly tsunami which flattened parts of the country 30 minutes later.
The high waves also damaged Fukushima’s Nuclear Plant’s emergency diesel generators leading to reactor meltdowns, and a release of radioactive waste. In total, 18,000 people lost their lives from the earthquake and tsunami.
How Does Earthquake Data Help With Disaster Preparedness?
Thanks to the study of plate tectonics, scientists know where earthquakes usually occur, even if they don’t know when precisely. For example countries along the “Ring of Fire”—a hotbed of earthquake and volcanic activity—witness hundreds of earthquakes a year, though most are not strong enough to cause any damage.
However, with deadly earthquakes, other factors, including epicenter depth, location near populous areas, and proximity to secondary events—tsunamis—can play a far bigger role in death tolls.
Disaster preparedness and swift government action can mitigate many secondary casualties as seen comparing the vastly different death tolls of the 2004 and 2011 tsunamis.
Mapped: How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
An annual income anywhere between $360,000-$950,000 can grant entry into the top 1%—depending on where you live in America.
How Much Does it Take to be the Top 1% in Each U.S. State?
There’s an old saying: everyone thinks that they’re middle-class.
But how many people think, or know, that they really belong to the top 1% in the country?
Data from personal finance advisory services company, SmartAsset, reveals the annual income threshold at which a household can be considered part of the top 1% in their state.
Some states demand a much higher yearly earnings from their residents to be a part of the rarefied league, but which ones are they, and how much does one need to earn to make it to the very top echelon of income?
Ranking U.S. States By Income to Be in the Top 1%
At the top of the list, a household in Connecticut needs to earn nearly $953,000 annually to be part of the one-percenters. This is the highest minimum threshold across the country.
In the same region, Massachusetts requires a minimum annual earnings of $903,401 from its top 1% residents.
Here’s the list of all 50 U.S. states along with the annual income needed to be in the 1%.
|Rank||State||Top 1% Income|
|Top 1% Tax Rate
(% of annual income)
California ($844,266), New Jersey ($817,346), and Washington ($804,853) round out the top five states with the highest minimum thresholds to make it to their exclusive rich club.
On the other end of the spectrum, the top one-percenters in West Virginia make a minimum of $367,582 a year, the lowest of all the states, and about one-third of the threshold in Connecticut. And just down southwest of the Mountain State, Mississippi’s one-percenters need to make at least $381,919 a year to qualify for the 1%.
A quick glance at the map above also reveals some regional insights.
The Northeast and West Coast, with their large urban and economic hubs, have higher income entry requirements for the top 1% than states in the American South.
This also correlates to the median income by state, a measure showing Massachusetts households make nearly $90,000 a year, compared to Mississippians who take home $49,000 annually.
How Much Do the Top 1% Pay in Taxes?
Meanwhile, if one does make it to the top 1% in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts, expect to pay more in taxes than other states, according to SmartAsset’s analysis.
The one-percenters in the top five states pay, on average, between 26–28% of their income in tax, compared to those in the bottom five who pay between 21–23%.
And this pattern exists through the dataset, with higher top 1% income thresholds correlating with higher average tax rates for the wealthy.
|State Ranks||Median Tax Rate|
These higher tax rates point to attempts to reign in the increasing wealth disparity in the nation where the top 1% hold more than one-third of the country’s wealth, up from 27% in 1989.
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