Next Article in Journal
Simulation Modeling of the Sustainable Supply Chain
Next Article in Special Issue
Threshold or Limit? Precipitation Dependency of Austrian Landslides, an Ongoing Challenge for Hazard Mapping under Climate Change
Previous Article in Journal
High School Adolescents’ Physical Activity and Physical Fitness: A 3 × 2 Achievement Goal Approach
Previous Article in Special Issue
Mapping the Structure of Social Vulnerability Systems for Malaria in East Africa
Article

Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA

1
The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY 10025, USA
2
Cloud to Street, New York, NY 112131, USA
3
Dell EMC, Austin, TX 78759, USA
4
Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84321, USA
5
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6006; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156006
Received: 12 June 2020 / Revised: 18 July 2020 / Accepted: 20 July 2020 / Published: 27 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
Social vulnerability indicators seek to identify populations susceptible to hazards based on aggregated sociodemographic data. Vulnerability indices are rarely validated with disaster outcome data at broad spatial scales, making it difficult to develop effective national scale strategies to mitigate loss for vulnerable populations. This paper validates social vulnerability indicators using two flood outcomes: death and damage. Regression models identify sociodemographic factors associated with variation in outcomes from 11,629 non-coastal flood events in the USA (2008–2012), controlling for flood intensity using stream gauge data. We compare models with (i) socioeconomic variables, (ii) the composite social vulnerability index (SoVI), and (iii) flood intensity variables only. The SoVI explains a larger portion of the variance in death (AIC = 2829) and damage (R2 = 0.125) than flood intensity alone (death—AIC = 2894; damage—R2 = 0.089), and models with individual sociodemographic factors perform best (death—AIC = 2696; damage—R2 = 0.229). Socioeconomic variables correlated with death (rural counties with a high proportion of elderly and young) differ from those related to property damage (rural counties with high percentage of Black, Hispanic and Native American populations below the poverty line). Results confirm that social vulnerability influences death and damage from floods in the USA. Model results indicate that social vulnerability models related to specific hazards and outcomes perform better than generic social vulnerability indices (e.g., SoVI) in predicting non-coastal flood death and damage. Hazard- and outcome-specific indices could be used to better direct efforts to ameliorate flood death and damage towards the people and places that need it most. Future validation studies should examine other flood outcomes, such as evacuation, migration and health, across scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: social vulnerability; flooding; validation; USA; property damage; death social vulnerability; flooding; validation; USA; property damage; death
Show Figures

Figure 1

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Link: https://github.com/cloudtostreet/socialvulnerability
    Description: Social Vulnerability model prediction data for 500-year riverine floods in the USA for counties in the USA based on the 2010 census. Data are in data_predictions.csv.
MDPI and ACS Style

Tellman, B.; Schank, C.; Schwarz, B.; Howe, P.D.; de Sherbinin, A. Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156006

AMA Style

Tellman B, Schank C, Schwarz B, Howe PD, de Sherbinin A. Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA. Sustainability. 2020; 12(15):6006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156006

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tellman, Beth, Cody Schank, Bessie Schwarz, Peter D. Howe, and Alex de Sherbinin. 2020. "Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA" Sustainability 12, no. 15: 6006. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156006

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop