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Yue Sun article on the social correlates of flood risk published in Population and Environment

Aug 4, 2021

The Social Correlates of Flood Risk: Variation Along the US Rural–Urban Continuum

Danielle Rhubart & Yue Sun

Population and Environment, July 2021

Compositional and contextual characteristics of a place capture the collective financial, physical, human, and social capital of an area and its ability to prevent, plan for, and recover from severe weather events. Research that examines the compositional and contextual characteristics of places with elevated flood risk is largely limited to urban-centric analyses and case studies. However, rural areas of the U.S. are not immune to flooding. This paper integrates social and physical data to identify the social correlates of flood risk and determine if and how they vary across the rural–urban continuum for all census tracts in the coterminous U.S. The results show that risk of flooding is higher in rural tracts, in tracts with larger relative shares of socioeconomically vulnerable populations, and in tracts reliant on flood-vulnerable industries. It also shows that compositional social correlates of flooding are not consistent across rural–urban areas. This work widens the scope of discourse on flooding to attend to the heterogeneity of social correlates and the implications for policy and future research.