Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Social Networks and Katrina

One of the interesting things (rather cold statement) in the aftermath of Katrina is the unexpected (to me) profusion of extended families among the evacuees. Mostly black, but some white, although that's the proportion of media coverage, it seems lots of people have lots of siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, who may evacuated together, got separated in the evacuation, or stayed behind to help relatives. It makes for a good story, a lot better than the individuals who were by themselves. Is this area of the South home to more extended families who seem to have been relatively immobile than other areas?

I've a hypothesis in mind--familial bonds are literally that--ties that can and do hold one back from individual achievement but supports that rescue one in times of peril.


CmdrSue said...

I found a link to you via the Angry Drunk Bureaucrat. Having moved to the Gulf Coast area from the DC area when I was seven years old (I'm back in VA now) I have to tell you yes, they have A LOT of extended family - be they black or white. I don't think I have as many relatives on the planet as they have in town, and don't even start counting second cousins once removed two towns over. It is a very family oriented area and I still recall going to first grade in Nicholson, MS (outside of Picayune) and how the kids wondered at me because I didn't have any cousins in town and if I counted the ones out of town I only had TWO. What an odd fish I was. The area has become more cosmopolitan over time, but many of those families remain and they are rooted in a way that I admire but can't understand.

Bill Harshaw said...

The Washington Post has an article today confirming the point--apparently Louisiana has the most families who don't move of any state in the country. Here's the URL: