After Hurricane Katrina, socioeconomically vulnerable populations were slow to return to their poor and segregated pre-disaster neighborhoods. Yet, very little is known about the quality of their post-disaster neighborhoods. While vulnerable groups rarely escape neighborhood poverty, some Katrina evacuees showed signs of neighborhood improvement. The current study investigates this puzzle and the significance of long-distance moves for neighborhood change among participants in the Resilience in the Survivors of Katrina Project. Seven hundred low-income, mostly minority mothers in community college in New Orleans before Katrina were tracked across the country a year and a half later. The findings show that respondents’ immediate and extended neighborhoods and metropolitan areas after Katrina were less disadvantaged, less organizationally isolated, and more racially and ethnically diverse compared to their pre-hurricane environments, and to the environments of those staying or returning home. Counterfactual analyses showed that more than within-neighborhood changes over time, between-neighborhood mobility and long-distance migration decreased respondents’ exposures to distress in their neighborhood, extended geographic area, and metropolitan area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)