Demographic shifts and natural hazard losses in the United States, 2000-2015

Authors: Erika Pham*, University of South Carolina, Sahar Derakhshan, University of South Carolina, Yago Martin, University of South Carolina, Rachel Reeves, University of South Carolina, Susan L. Cutter, University of South Carolina
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Population Geography
Keywords: Natural hazards, disasters, population change, losses, recovery
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The question of whether or not natural hazards result in population changes in affected communities has been explored in the demographic literature, with contradictory results. This paper advances these previous studies in order to explicitly investigate the geospatial relationship between demographic changes and economic losses from natural hazard events. Four sociodemographic change variables (population, number of housing units, median income, and number in poverty) derived from decennial Census and American Community Survey data are combined with non-crop property damage from natural hazards, using the Spatial Hazard Events and Losses database (SHELDUS) for counties within the contiguous United States. Using an initial set of hazards (floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes) to compare to previous research, the paper further expands by including additional hazards in the SHELDUS database. This enhancement is due to improvements in archiving natural hazard losses over time and these data were not as available for the previous demographic studies. Using a combination of statistical and geospatial analytics we not only examine the national patterns of population change and hazards losses, but include a regional perspective by exploring regional variations in demographic changes and geographically-dependent hazard types by Census region. We aim to clarify the spatial dimension of demographic shifts and hazard losses.

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