Evacuation Decision-Making during Hurricane Matthew: An Assessment of the Effects of Social Connections

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Science, Hurricanes/typhoons, Statistical techniques, Emergency preparedness

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



This study conducted in Florida examines the relationship between an individual’s social connections and their decision to evacuate during a hurricane warning. Using Hurricane Matthew in 2016 as a case study, a survey was conducted on two groups (those who evacuated and those who did not), assessing one’s social connections considering three dimensions: dependability, density, and diversity. These factors, in addition to socioeconomic variables (e.g., age, race, education), were used to better define a picture for what influences evacuation decision-making. To avoid memory decay, the surveys were completed at the time of the evacuation for those who evacuated and immediately after the passage of Matthew for those who did not evacuate. It was concluded, through statistical analyses, that the perceived dependability of a person’s social connections (i.e., their perceived access to resources and support) played a significant role in the decision to evacuate or not, with non-evacuees having more dependable relationships and having a tightknit community they can rely on during a storm event. On the other hand, the density and diversity of peoples’ social connections did not significantly impact the decision to evacuate. This study has important implications for adding to the knowledge base on community-based sustainable disaster preparedness and resilience.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Weather, Climate, and Society, v. 9, issue 4, p. 769-776