Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

George Raber

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

David Cochran

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Mark Miller

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 4

Bandana Kar

Committee Member 4 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 5

David Butler

Committee Member 5 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

We can predict social and physical vulnerability with relatively accurate modeling. There are, however, very few consistent models to predict economic vulnerability outside of loss estimation models designed by economists. The index in this dissertation predicts which areas are most economically vulnerable in terms of job loss. Communities rely on their ability to work and contribute to the tax base. Without that base, a community will take longer to recover after a disaster. Which industries, professions, and environmental factors most influence a community’s economic vulnerability in the wake of a disaster? This dissertation presents an index for measuring economic vulnerability at census block level in the event of a land falling tropical cyclone and utilizes data from the Mississippi Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Studies that combine local-scale meteorological information and demographic data with statistical analysis yield a wealth of insight about communities in need of most aid before and immediately following a disaster.

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