The effect of the increasing population in mobile homes is
important for the number of deaths in tornadoes nationally and may be
especially serious in the future. We can make a simple model of the effect
of mobile homes by using the population in mobile homes and by assuming that
the average death rate in mobile homes occurred each year since 1960.
Further assuming that the mobile home population will continue to increase
as it has, we can estimate the number of deaths in mobile homes in the
future. Taking that number and dividing it by the total U.S. population
gives a death rate for the total U.S. population if all deaths outside of
mobile homes were eliminated. We can compare the model death rate to the
long-term trend. The mobile home rate is approaching the long-term overall
trend and, in fact, will soon pass it. The raw data after 1990 could be
interpreted as showing that the long-term decline has stopped and that the
death rate has leveled off, although it is too early to be sure of this
change. Thus, the increase in mobile home residency may have reversed the
approximately 70-year-long trend of decreasing death rates in tornadoes.
Only time will tell what the trend will be or if efforts to target this
vulnerable population will help to reduce deaths.