Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Disaster Studies

First Advisor

Dr. William R. Donner

Second Advisor

Dr. Dawid K. Wladyka

Third Advisor

Dr. Dean Kyne


Located on the Texas-Mexico border, the Rio Grande Valley is characterized by its geographical susceptibility to hurricanes and floods. With high poverty rates and a majority Hispanic and Latino population, “the Valley” faces multiple challenges; many residents of the area live below federal poverty rates, have low educational attainment, speak little to no English, or are migrants with low social capital. These prevailing conditions have established the Rio Grande Valley as a highly vulnerable region compared to other areas in the United States. This paper aims to bring awareness of these prevalent inequalities existing within the area, and to participate in a larger conversation about vulnerable populations existing within one of the world’s leading countries. In the past, this southmost area of Texas has made front to different Hurricanes and floods, most of which have left much damage to the Rio Grande Valley region and its residents, who in most cases do not have flood insurance and require government assistance to aid their recovery. This research utilizes a cross sectional design, with adult participants eighteen years of age and older. Through a convenience sampling design, interviews are conducted in both English and Spanish to accommodate to the needs of the population within some areas of the Rio Grande Valley, including Hidalgo County. In order to assess possible disaster vulnerability and preparedness, the interview instrument consists of six different categories. Among these categories are sociodemographic characteristics, household and living conditions, flooding experiences, and coping strategies. Data will be analyzed using univariate and multivariate statistical models.


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