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Population and Environment

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 271–291 | Cite as

Social vulnerability and migration in the wake of disaster: the case of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

  • Candice A. MyersEmail author
  • Tim Slack
  • Joachim Singelmann
Original Paper

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between place-based social vulnerability and post-disaster migration in the U.S. Gulf Coast region following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Using county-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we develop a regional index of social vulnerability and examine how its various dimensions are related to migration patterns in the wake of the storms. Our results show that places characterized by greater proportions of disadvantaged populations, housing damage, and, to a lesser degree, more densely built environments were significantly more likely to experience outmigration following the hurricanes. Our results also show that these relationships were not spatially random, but rather exhibited significant geographic clustering. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for future research and public policy.

Keywords

Disaster Migration Vulnerability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank the Editor of Population and Environment and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful insights on earlier drafts of this manuscript. This is a revised version of papers presented at the annual meetings of the Rural Sociological Society, Santa Clara, CA, 2007, and the Southern Demographic Association, Birmingham, AL, 2007. This research was supported by funding from the Minerals Management Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Special thanks to Huizhen Niu of the Agricultural Economics Geographic Information Systems (AEGIS) Lab in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, LSU AgCenter, for her assistance in developing the maps presented in this paper and used to diagnose spatial effects.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candice A. Myers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tim Slack
    • 1
  • Joachim Singelmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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