Flood Recovery Outcomes and Disaster Assistance Barriers for Vulnerable Populations

Disaster recovery spending for major flood events in the United States is at an all-time high. Yet research examining equity in disaster assistance increasingly shows that recovery funding underserves vulnerable populations. Based on a review of academic and grey literature, this article synthesizes empirical knowledge of population disparities in access to flood disaster assistance and outcomes during disaster recovery. The results identify renters, low-income households, and racial and ethnic minorities as populations that most face barriers accessing federal assistance and experience adverse recovery outcomes. The analysis explores the drivers of these inequities and concludes with a focus on the performance of disaster programs in addressing unmet needs, recognition of intersectional social vulnerabilities in recovery analysis, and gaps in data availability and transparency.