Title page for ETD etd-04042007-090939

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Myers, Candice A.
Author's Email Address cmyers6@lsu.edu
URN etd-04042007-090939
Title Population Change and Social Vulnerability in the Wake of Disaster: The Case of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tim Slack Committee Chair
Joachim Singelmann Committee Member
Mariano Sana Committee Member
  • Hurricane Rita
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • population change
  • social vulnerability
Date of Defense 2007-03-26
Availability unrestricted
Previous sociological research on natural disasters has highlighted how various dimensions of social vulnerability influence the impact of, and recovery from, such disasters. This research contributes to the literature by examining population change in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, with an explicit focus on how social vulnerability moderates this relationship. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, I construct a macro-level Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) for the impacted region and then use regression analysis to explore how various dimensions of social vulnerability are related to population change in the six months following the storms. The results reveal a number of significant relationships, including a history of population flux and the presence of elderly populations. However, the results are just as notable for what they do not show. Overall, I find little evidence that social vulnerability plays a major role in moderating the macro-level relationship between a disaster and population change. Implications for future research and public policy are then discussed.
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