Hurricane Katrina: Who Stayed and Why?

Thiede, Brian C.; Brown, David L.
December 2013
Population Research & Policy Review;Dec2013, Vol. 32 Issue 6, p803
Academic Journal
This paper contributes to the growing body of social science research on population displacement from disasters by examining the social determinants of evacuation behavior. It seeks to clarify the effects of race and socioeconomic status on evacuation outcomes vis-a-vis previous research on Hurricane Katrina, and it expands upon prior research on evacuation behavior more generally by differentiating non-evacuees according to their reasons for staying. This research draws upon the Harvard Medical School Hurricane Katrina Community Advisory Group’s 2006 survey of individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina. Using these data, we develop two series of logistic regression models. The first set of models predicts the odds that respondents evacuated prior to the storm, relative to delayed- or non-evacuation; the second group of models predicts the odds that non-evacuees were unable to evacuate relative to having chosen to stay. We find that black and low-education respondents were least likely to evacuate prior to the storm and among non-evacuees, most likely to have been unable to evacuate. Respondents’ social networks, information attainment, and geographic location also affected evacuation behavior. We discuss these findings and outline directions for future research.


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