Exposure to natural disasters like hurricanes negatively impacts the mental and physical health of populations, and evacuation is an important step taken to prevent these adverse health events. This study uses data from a large representative sample of U.S. Gulf Coast residents to explore the determinants of hurricane evacuation. In December 2017, data were collected from 3030 residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida-2557 of whom reported being impacted during the 2017 hurricane season. Bivariate analyses were conducted using prevalence differences and tested for statistical significance with chi-square tests. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to identify factors associated with hurricane evacuation. One-third of the respondents (919 of 2557; 35.9%) evacuated from a hurricane that impacted the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2017. The determinants of hurricane evacuation in this population were: residing in a mobile home, higher perception of storm surge risk, higher perception of wind risk, self-sufficiency, carrying flood insurance, and reliance on media and family for evacuation decisions. These findings may be relevant for reducing the adverse health effects of hurricanes by improving emergency planning and evacuation in this highly vulnerable region.
Keywords: U.S. Gulf Coast; disaster; evacuation; hurricane; vulnerability.