Investigating Socio-economic Impacts of a Recent Hurricane and Understanding Perceptions of Coastal Vulnerability

Rising seas and extreme hydro-meteorological events (e.g., tropical cyclone activities, storm surges and inland flooding events) threaten the status, sustainability, and security of low-lying coastal communities. Eight of the ten costliest hurricanes in U.S. history occurred in the last eight years. The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons devastated communities on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts with national repercussions. Most recently in 2012, residents in the Northeast region have experienced devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy. As population growth and development in coastal areas increases vulnerability, greater insured losses from hurricanes are causing increases in federal and state spending and insurance premiums. The socio-economic impacts of hurricanes threaten to burden residents with additional costs and sufferings. In the face of rising vulnerability, quantitative analysis of socio-economic impacts of hurricanes especially in large urban areas (where impacts are extensive) can provide useful insights to State agencies and decision makers.

The most recent hurricane (Hurricane Sandy, 2012) devastated the Northeast region and still many residents are suffering in the New York and New Jersey areas. Against this backdrop, researchers propose to conduct a household survey to understand the socio-economic impacts of Hurricane Sandy and resident’s preferences for hurricane risk mitigation. The survey data collected through this project will allow us to estimate economic impacts of the recent hurricane. Given that Florida has a significant number of populations living in coastal areas, the analysis from this project will be very useful for planning purposes. For example, our analysis will be able to provide insights how much total damages will be caused if a similar hurricane passes through large urban areas in Florida (e.g. Miami). The social science research question addressed here is novel, policy relevant and will provide useful inputs for planning purposes to the State of Florida. The information will be useful to both academic community and decision-makers who are working in addressing these challenges. Deliverables for this effort will include:

  • Summary of related research
  • Details of survey design and the implementation of survey instrument
  • Data analyses of survey responses

Results and findings of the survey and policy implications

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