Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Simpson, David M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gilderbloom, John I.

Committee Member

Gilderbloom, John I.

Committee Member

Negrey, Cynthia

Committee Member

Merry, Melissa K.

Committee Member

Savitch, Hank V.


Disaster relief--Social aspects--United States; Disasters--Economic aspects--United States; Disasters--Social aspects--United States; Poor--United States--Social conditions


Low-income and vulnerable populations that suffer most in natural disasters are females, children, elderly, disabled, and ethnic minorities This dissertation explores the association between natural disaster and poverty conditions among socially disadvantaged subgroups within the social, economic, and political contexts of the disaster affected regions in the Gulf Coast States. It argues that poverty conditions increase the negative impacts of disaster for socially vulnerable populations. This dissertation advocates incorporating the vulnerabilities of the marginalized population in each phase of disaster management planning, from mitigation to recovery. The study uses correlation and regression analyses to find the association between disaster impacts and different poverty conditions. The study of 534 counties of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas reveals that people living in poverty have a significant positive association with disaster fatalities and property damage, which demonstrates that natural disasters are likely to increase poverty. Moreover, the counties with more socially disadvantaged groups are more vulnerable to disaster. In conclusion, the author proposes that integration of vulnerabilities of socially disadvantaged groups into disaster mitigation policies can fundamentally reduce the loss of human life and economic loss of a society from natural disaster.