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Back in February, Change.org wondered what the U.S. would look like if an earthquake killed nearly 3% of its population, as happened in Haiti. Now, in the wake of the Chile earthquake, business blogger Douglas McIntyre is asking a slightly different question, and a much less hypothetical one. Much of urban California lies along fault lines, and experts think a big earthquake on these faults fairy likely in the near future. How much would that hurt the economy?


California has 37 million residents, more than 12% of the US population. Its GDP is nearly 14% of the nation's. A huge quake in the state, particularly one in Los Angeles or San Francisco could cost tens of thousands of lives and shut down a large part of the US economy. A blow to the nation's GDP during its current fragile state of recovery could drive the country back into recession. A natural catastrophe in California would certainly stunt its economic activity which is over $2 trillion each year.

Clearly, the scenario is worth considering. What would happen to the economy if an earthquake were to strike California tomorrow?

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