The social correlates of flood risk: variation along the US rural–urban continuum

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14 Scopus citations


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 USA are not immune to flooding. In this paper, we integrate 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 USA. Our 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. We also show 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-256
Number of pages25
JournalPopulation and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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