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Collective resources in the repopulation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Abstract

Most disaster researchers believe that collective resources can help recovery, but there has been little quantitative research because data are scarce. We investigate the contribution of civic engagement and social networks to repopulation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (2005), also taking into account storm damage and individual resources like income, race, female-headed households, and age. We conducted a large (N = 5729) representative survey in Greater New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina that contains extensive measures of collective resources. We aggregated these data to the census tract level and merged them with government data on repopulation and demographic factors. Our analyses show that civic engagement encouraged repopulation, though its effects faded over time. Social networks had an effect at the zero order, but were insignificant when damage was controlled. Damage had the largest, negative, effect on repopulation. Individual resources affected repopulation at the zero order, but when damage was controlled, only income and age had an effect.

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Notes

  1. We are grateful to an anonymous reviewer for raising this possibility.

  2. It is not yet known whether private “big data” (online social networks, consumer data, cellphone records) will provide an alternative at some point. See Aldrich and Metaxa (2018) for an early effort.

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Funding

Funding was provided by National Science Foundation (Grant Nos. SES-0554572, SES-0753742), College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Louisiana State University (Faculty Research Grant), Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge.

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Weil, F.D., Rackin, H.M. & Maddox, D. Collective resources in the repopulation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Nat Hazards 94, 927–952 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-018-3432-7

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Keywords

  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Civic engagement
  • Social capital
  • Disaster
  • Migration