The Second Disaster: Demographic Transformation of Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Following Major Hurricanes

James R. Elliott, University of Oregon
Jeremy Pais, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

In the United States, recovery from major disasters depends greatly on private resources and federal initiatives aimed at restoring businesses and property rather than local communities. Consequently, disadvantaged neighborhoods remain vulnerable not just to environmental hazards but to recovery processes that unfold in their wake—the so-called “second disaster.” However, prior research has provided little systematic analysis of neighborhood vulnerability and associated demographic change following major coastal disasters. We provide such an analysis by integrating biophysical and demographic data to study the transformation of socially unequal neighborhoods after major hurricanes during the early 1990s. Results from spatially lagged regression analyses indicate that disadvantaged neighborhoods become more disadvantaged and environmentally vulnerable during recovery from major hurricanes, laying the foundations for even more severe disasters in the region in the future. [More detailed results forthcoming.]

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Presented in Session 67: Social Inequality and Disasters