Title

Modeling Geographic Variation in Household Disaster Preparedness across U.S. States and Metropolitan Areas

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

The Professional Geographer

Publisher

Routledge

Publication Date

3-1-2018

Volume

70

Issue

3

First Page

491

Last Page

503

Abstract

Emerging statistical techniques, combined with the increasing accessibility of primary social survey data, can provide policy-relevant tools for understanding how perceptions and behaviors vary geographically. Planning for natural disasters requires local data, yet data on topics such as household preparedness behaviors are often unavailable at the appropriate spatial resolution. This article presents new nationwide estimates of one element of household preparedness—having supplies in the home to use in case of a disaster—across all states and metropolitan areas in the United States. Estimates are based on a 2015 national survey combined with multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP), a statistical technique to develop subnational estimates from national data sets. The model uses sociodemographic and geographic predictors informed by prior research. Estimates were externally validated against independent surveys, including data from the 2013 American Housing Survey. Comparing the estimates against historical disaster losses demonstrates broad variation in preparedness even among places with historically high rates of death and injury from natural disasters and allows identification of high-risk places with high disaster losses and low preparedness according to this survey item. Leveraging large survey data sets in combination with MRP can be an effective tool for researchers and decision makers to understand geographic variation in perceptions and behaviors at subnational scales.

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