The method of engineering seismic risk analysis developed by Cornell (1968) is applied to the central United States to estimate the risk of exceeding a given intensity due to earthquakes in and near the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The intensities associated with a 50 year risk of 10% are plotted for three different assumptions of source distribution. The implications of these assumptions are discussed in detail. Site specific risk estimates are presented for four cities in the region: St. Louis, MO; Memphis, TN: Cape Girardeau, MO; and Evansville, IN. While the results may be conservative due to the assumed attenuation law, they do serve as a guide in making decisions concerning seismic risk.