Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Gladstone, David

Second Advisor

Kiefer, John

Third Advisor

Tian, Guang

Fourth Advisor

Jerolleman, Alessandra


In 2018, over 28 million persons were newly displaced globally, of which 1.2 million reside in the United States alone. Natural disasters, conflict and violence leads to forced displacement on a global scale. This displacement leads to increased vulnerabilities in terms of financial, human and social capital. To date, there has been extensive research on the impact relocation has had on the social capital of refugees and other migrant groups. However, there remains a significant gap in scholarship on the impact of forced, internal displacement has on an individual’s social capital.

The goal of the work is to contribute to the literature examining the effects displacement has on social capital when individuals are forced to displace during a natural disaster, conflict or due to violence. The primary question which this dissertation seeks to answer is: How is social capital affected when individuals and communities are forced to move within the borders of one country? Due to the broad nature of the question and the limited scope of previous research, this dissertation utilized a quantitative research approach with the goal of gaining an understanding of the impact forced displacement has had for individuals impacted Hurricane Harvey has had on their social capital. Specifically, this research study examined the effects forced displacement has on six dimensions of social capital, pre and post disaster, of individuals impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the Greater Houston Area. Primary data was collected in late 2019 from individuals receiving disaster recovery services from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston.

The goal of this work, through an analysis of primary data collected from individuals forced to displace due to a natural disaster, is to contribute to the literature that examines the impact forced displacement has on social capital as well as contributing to social capital theory and literature on forced displacement. This understanding can be applied to displaced individuals and communities facing similar challenges throughout the world.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024