Assessing Katrina’s Demographic and Social Impacts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

David A. Swanson, University of California, Riverside
Richard Forgette, University of Mississippi
Mark Van Boening, University of Mississippi

We examine selected housing, demographic, and social effects of Hurricane Katrina on an area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast immediately to the west and east of St. Louis Bay. In regard to housing and demographic effects, we find that 27% of the housing was destroyed in the Study Area and 47% significantly damaged. Related to the effects on housing, Katrina caused a 40% decline in the Study Area’s household population. In regard to social effects, the results of one of our research hypotheses about the effect of social networks on the well-being of people show that social isolation significantly increases perceptions of disaster disturbance and decreases perceived rates of disaster relief. Recommendations (and potential implications for other areas affected by large-scale disasters) based on our results are provided, as well as descriptions of the Study Area, study design, and data collection procedures.

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Presented in Poster Session 4