Scientific American: Natural Disasters by Location: Rich Leave and Poor Get Poorer

Post date: Jul 15, 2017 6:30:10 AM

As our collective community and diverse stakeholders work collectively to address a myriad of Hurricane Matthew long-term recovery challenges, a relevant and timely report released by Scientific American highlights the need for us to work collaboratively in order to integrate strategies and solutions within the context of multi-dimensional unmet needs related to poverty. Click here to read the full report, and scroll below for highlights!

Scientific American: Natural Disasters by Location: Rich Leave and Poor Get Poorer

Highlights

  • "Each big catastrophe like a hurricane increases a U.S. county's poverty by 1 percent, 90 years of data show."
  • "We found that, if a county experienced two natural disasters, migration out of that county increased by one percentage point, with the strongest reactions happening in response to hurricanes. This translates into a loss of around 600 residents from a typical county. The effect of one very large disaster – responsible for 100 or more deaths – was twice as big."
  • "Poverty rates also increased by one percentage point in areas hit by super-severe disasters. That suggests that people who aren’t poor are migrating out or that people who are poor are migrating in. It might also mean that the existing population transitioned into poverty. We contrasted decades with high disaster activity to decades of comparable calm, thus making it unlikely that we are simply observing areas with higher poverty rates."
  • "People in areas very prone to suffer disasters – such as counties on a coastline or in a river plain – were three times more likely to leave areas following a severe shock than people in a typical county."
  • "Despite the progress in preparing for natural disasters, our research suggests the poor will face growing exposure to natural disaster activity. Our research suggests that the rich may have the resources to move away from areas facing natural disasters, leaving behind a population that is disproportionately poor."
  • "During a time of increased concern about income inequality and climate change risk, natural disaster exposure risk could become another cause of rising quality of life inequality between the rich and the poor."
  • Our study suggests that areas that do not adapt to natural disaster risk will become poorer over time, as well-to-do residents move away."