Move or Stay? A Dilemma for Coastal Louisiana Residents

Authors: Rachel M Correll*, Louisiana State University, Nina S.-N. Lam, Louisiana State University, Lei Zou, Louisiana State University, Heng Cai, Louisiana State University, Volodymyr Mihunov, Louisiana State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Flood risk, Mississippi Delta, population change, telephone survey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Southern Louisiana is no stranger to flooding. The August 2016 Louisiana floods were particularly catastrophic due to the relentless rains, flooding regions that had not been inundated in decades. A major research question is how flood risk affects population change and economic development in the region. We conducted a telephone survey of residents in the Mississippi River Delta region in January-February 2017 to identify key decision factors made by residents on why they stay or migrate under an uncertain vulnerable coastal environment. The survey of 1,125 adults show that everyone recognized the grave importance of flood risk, but were not as united when deciding whether it was enough to make someone want to move from the region. Nearly 20% of the population surveyed are considering moving with 37% of that population aiming to leave Louisiana state entirely. Largely, these respondents were younger and more likely to rent their homes, leading to the notion that less investment in the community made the decision to relocate come easier. Understanding the driving forces behind resident decision making will help inform policy and resource allocation as sea levels rise and land continues to subside.

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