Factors influencing hurricane evacuation among Hispanic population

Ana Sanchez Carrasco, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The recent hurricanes of Katrina, Rita, and Dolly have brought to light the precarious situation populations place themselves in when they are unprepared to face a storm, or do not follow official orders to evacuate when a destructive hurricane is poised to hit the area. Three counties in southern Texas lie within 60 miles of the Gulf of Mexico, and along the Mexican border. Determining the barriers to hurricane evacuation in this distinct and highly impoverished area of the United States would help aid local, state, and federal agencies to respond more effectively to persons living here. The aim of this study was to examine intention to comply with mandatory hurricane evacuation orders among persons living in three counties in South Texas by gender, income, education, acculturation and county of residence. A questionnaire was administered to 3,088 households across the three counties using a two-stage cluster sampling strategy, stratified by all three counties. The door-to-door survey was a 73-item instrument that included demographics, reasons for and against evacuation, and preparedness for a hurricane. Weighted data were used for the analyses. Chi-square tests were run to determine whether differences between observed and expected frequencies were statistically significant. A logistic regression model was developed based on that univariate analysis. Results from the logistic regression estimated odds ratios and their 95 percent confidence intervals for the independent variables. Logistic regression results indicate that females were less likely than men to follow an evacuation order. Having a higher education meant more likelihood of evacuating. Those respondents with a higher affiliation with Spanish than English were more likely to follow the evacuation orders. Hidalgo County residents were less likely to evacuate than Cameron or Willacy Counties' residents. Local officials need to implement communication efforts specifically tailored for females, residents with less of an affiliation with Spanish, and Hidalgo County residents to ensure their successful evacuation prior to a strong hurricane's landfall.

Subject Area

Public Health Education

Recommended Citation

Carrasco, Ana Sanchez, "Factors influencing hurricane evacuation among Hispanic population" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470293.