Skip to main content
Social Dimensions of Urban Flood Experience, Exposure, and Concern
Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) (2018)
  • Rebecca L. Hale, Idaho State University
  • Courtney G. Flint, Utah State University
  • Douglas Jackson-Smith, The Ohio State University
  • Joanna Endter-Wada, Utah State University
With growing urban populations and climate change, urban flooding is an important global issue,
even in dryland regions. Flood risk assessments are usually used to identify vulnerable locations and populations,
flooding experience patterns, or levels of concern about flooding, but rarely are all of these approaches
combined. Furthermore, the social dynamics of flood concerns, exposure, and experience are underexplored. We
combined geographic and survey data on household-level measures of flood experience, concern, and exposure in Utah’s urbanizing Wasatch Front. We asked: (1) Are socially vulnerable groups more likely to be exposed to
flood risk? (2) How common are flooding experiences among urban residents, and how are these experiences
related to sociodemographic characteristics and exposure? and (3) How concerned are urban residents about
flooding, and does concern vary by exposure, flood experience, and sociodemographic characteristics? Although
floodplain residents were more likely to be White and have higher incomes, respondents who were of a racial/
ethnic minority, were older, had less education, and were living in floodplains were more likely to report flood
experiences and concern about flooding. Flood risk management approaches need to address social as well
as physical sources of vulnerability to floods and recognize social sources of variation in flood experiences and
  • flooding,
  • urban areas,
  • risk assessment,
  • risk perceptions,
  • social vulnerability,
  • flood experience
Publication Date
Summer July, 2018
Citation Information
Rebecca L. Hale, Courtney G. Flint, Douglas Jackson-Smith and Joanna Endter-Wada. "Social Dimensions of Urban Flood Experience, Exposure, and Concern" Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) Vol. 54 Iss. 5 (2018) p. 1137 - 1150
Available at: