How Much More Exposed are the Poor to Natural Disasters? Global and Regional Measurement

Disasters, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 195-211, April 2012

Posted: 28 Mar 2012

See all articles by Namsuk Kim

Namsuk Kim

United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Date Written: March 21, 2012

Abstract

This paper proposes a simple indicator to measure the exposure to natural disasters for the poor and non-poor population, in order to assess the global and regional trend of natural hazard and poverty. Globally, poor people are two times more exposed to natural disasters than the nonpoor in the twenty-first century. The time trend varies across regions, with poor people in East Asia and Pacific being most exposed to natural disasters, followed by those in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The change of exposure measure over time is decomposed into two factors: a pure exposure change, which could be fueled by climate change; and a concentration component. The result shows that the total net increase of exposure between the 1970s and the 2000s is driven significantly by the increased concentration of the poor (26 percent) in disaster-prone areas, whereas the contribution of that factor remains very small for the non-poor (six percent).

Keywords: Natural disaster, Poverty, Exposure

JEL Classification: Q54, Q56, I32

Suggested Citation

Kim, Namsuk, How Much More Exposed are the Poor to Natural Disasters? Global and Regional Measurement (March 21, 2012). Disasters, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 195-211, April 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029855

Namsuk Kim (Contact Author)

United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) ( email )

New York, NY 10017
United States

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