I’ve had a hunch for awhile that this was true, and this article confirms my thoughts:
As global populations have grown and people have crowded into risk zones — like earthquake areas and flood plains — the toll of natural disasters has grown as well. According to the Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, the number of catastrophic events has more than doubled since the 1980s, and the Red Cross estimates that the economic damage from disasters rose fivefold, to $629 billion, from 1985 to 2005. That doesn’t necessarily mean that volcanoes and quakes are getting worse — but rather that there are more of us living in areas where we might be affected by a disaster, and we have more to lose.
The better question remains, what is it within the human spirit, that drives us to do this sort of thing?