Community recovery from disasters depends on how its subunits, such as households, fare. But the current knowledge on this topic is fragmented and undervalues a household’s agency for action, which can result in narrowly designed, and sometimes counterproductive, recovery plans and aid policies. In this article, we examine various internal and contextual characteristics of households to answer the question, what factors influence household recovery the most and how? Using logistical regression analysis on random sample survey data collected from households affected by the 2012 Hurricane Sandy in New York City, NY, we discuss the influence of various socioeconomic factors, knowledge and availability of external aid, and neighborhood condition on a household’s perception of their own recovery. We conclude with three lessons on community participation, recovery financing, and community restoration for recovery managers to ensure disaster recovery plans are comprehensive and build local capacity to recover.
What drives household recovery after disasters? Asks Professor Chandrasekhar