Social correlates of tornado casualties

Authors: Tyler Fricker*, Florida State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography
Keywords: tornado, casualties, demographics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tornadoes account for nearly one-fifth of all natural hazard fatalities in the United States. Previous research shows that a doubling of tornado energy increases the rate of casualties by 33% and a doubling of the number of people affected increases the rate of casualties by 21%. But this finding is only part of the story as the rate of casualties varies depending on who is in the path. While some risk factors are well known, missing is how and to what degree these factors change across space and time. In response, my talk discusses which and to what extent different socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors are related to tornado casualties. I find that the percentage of elderly people in the Mid South explains some of the variation in vulnerability. Other factors include race and level of poverty. These results are valuable for understanding why some areas are more vulnerable than others and for answering "what if" questions related to changing demographics.

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