Elizabeth Fussell

Associate Professor of Population Studies and Environmental Studies, Brown University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Cities & Regions
  • Disaster & Emergency
  • Housing
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Women

Connect with Elizabeth

About Elizabeth

Fussell, as a demographer studying migration and a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005, began studying population change in the city and the disaster-affected region. She has two distinct lines of research: (1) the arrival and reception of the Latino immigrants who formed the rapid response labor force, and (2) the causes of unequal return migration to the city after the hurricane, focusing on socioeconomic, racial, gender, and housing differences among residents. With colleagues Mary Waters and Jean Rhodes, she runs The Risk Project (www.riskproject.org), a longitudinal study of low-income parents who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina.




"Hurricane Chasers in New Orleans: Latino Immigrants as a Source of a Rapid Response Labor Force" Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 31, no. 3 (2009): 375-394.
Uses data from surveys collected at the Brazilian, Mexican, and Nicaraguan consulates to describe the “rapid response labor force” of internally mobile immigrants who arrived to rebuild New Orleans after the hurricane, and their methods for overcoming labor market disadvantages.
"Race, Socio-economic Status, and Return Migration to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina" (with Narayan Sastry and Mark VanLandingham). Population & Environment 31 (2010): 20-42.
Looks at patterns and trends in return migration to post-Katrina New Orleans by displaced residents; concludes that delays seen in the return of black residents can be attributed to predominantly black communities having absorbed greater housing and infrastructure damage.
"The Deportation Threat Dynamic and Victimization of Latino Migrants: Wage Theft and Street Robbery" The Sociological Quarterly 52, no. 4 (2011): 593-615.
Investigates the factors that produced and heightened Latino migrant workers’ vulnerability to robbery and wage theft, fear of deportation being chief among them.
"Help from Family, Friends, and Strangers during Hurricane Katrina: The Limits of Social Networks" in Displaced: Voices from the Katrina Diaspora, edited by Lynn Weber and Lori Peek (University of Texas Press, 2012), 150-166.
Investigates how informal social networks assisted, or failed to assist, low-income, minority mothers after Hurricane Katrina.

In the News

"Who Will Protect Recovery Workers after the 2017 Hurricanes?," Elizabeth Fussell, The Advocate, October 9, 2017.
Elizabeth Fussell quoted on the ramifications of natural disasters in Dylan Matthews, "What the Hurricane Maria Migration Will Do to Puerto Rico — and the U.S." Vox, October 5, 2017.
"Leaving New Orleans: Social Stratification, Networks, and Hurricane Evacuation," Elizabeth Fussell, Social Science Research Council’s “Understanding Katrina”, June 11, 2006.
"Who Returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?," Elizabeth Fussell (with Narayan Sastry and Mark VanLandingham), Population Reference Bureau, July 2010.
Elizabeth Fussell's research on international migration discussed in David BielloElizabeth Fussell, "Climate Change May Mean More Mexican Immigration," Scientific American, July 26, 2010.
"New Orleans’ Immigrant Flavor since Katrina," Elizabeth Fussell, Interview with Julia Kumari Drapkin, PRI's The World, August 27, 2010.
"Here Comes Irene: Have We Learned from Katrina?," Elizabeth Fussell, Interview with Joy-Ann Reid, The Grio, August 26, 2011.