Unequal recovery? Federal resource distribution after a Midwest flood disaster

Cristina E. Muñoz, Eric Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Following severe flooding in 2008, three Iowa communities acquired over 1000 damaged properties to support disaster recovery and mitigation. This research applies a distributive justice framework to analyze the distribution of disaster recovery funds for property acquisition. Two research questions drive the analysis: (1) how does recovery vary by acquisition funding source; and (2) what is the relationship between recovery and vulnerable populations? Through spatial econometric modeling, relative recovery is compared between two federal programs that funded the acquisitions, and across socially vulnerable populations. The results indicate both distributive and temporal inequalities in the allocation of federal recovery funds. In particular, Latino and elderly populations were associated with lower recovery rates. Recommendations for future research in flood recovery and acquisitions are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number507
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Buyouts
  • Environmental justice
  • Property acquisition
  • Social vulnerability


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