Exploring income and racial inequality in preparedness for Hurricane Ida (2021): insights from digital footprint data

Qingchun Li, Anu Ramaswami, Ning Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preparedness for adverse events is critical to building urban resilience to climate-related risks. While most extant studies investigate preparedness patterns based on survey data, this study explores the potential of big digital footprint data (i.e. population visits to points of interest (POI)) to investigate preparedness patterns in the real case of Hurricane Ida (2021). We further investigate income and racial inequality in preparedness by combining the digital footprint data with demographic and socioeconomic data. A clear pattern of preparedness was seen in Louisiana with aggregated visits to grocery stores, gasoline stations, and construction supply dealers increasing by nearly 9%, 12%, and 10% respectively, representing three types of preparedness: survival, mobility planning, and hazard mitigation. Preparedness for Hurricane Ida was not seen in New York and New Jersey states. Inequality analyses for Louisiana across census block groups (CBGs) demonstrate that CBGs with higher income have more (nearly 8% greater) preparedness in visiting gasoline stations, while CBGs with a larger percentage of the white population have more preparedness in visiting grocery stores (nearly 12% more) in the lowest income groups. The results indicate that income and racial inequality differ across different preparedness in terms of visiting different POIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124021
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Hurricane Ida
  • digital footprint data
  • hurricane preparedness
  • income and racial inequality
  • urban resilience


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