Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies



First Advisor

Yong Lao

Second Advisor

Jennifer Lucido


Climate Change has existed as an important focus in the science community for decades, however relevant literature often focuses on environmental viewpoints more so than those of a socioeconomic perspective. In 2023, an increase in severe weather and unexpected weather events across the United States shed light onto the shortcomings of our preparedness and mitigation techniques. Particularly in California, flooding, sea level rise, and drought conditions have led to high rates of population displacement, economic inequality, and health/safety risks. These events pose the questions as to how climate change and its related natural disasters can potentially affect the average California resident in terms of housing displacement, economic loss, and personal health safety concerns, how the income level of particular areas affects their overall vulnerability to climate change, and what possible sociological mitigation techniques could apply to California based on regional climate effects. Using a qualitative approach, this research reviewed secondary data through scholarly peer-reviewed sources. These articles were derived from online databases such as Sage Journals, JSTOR, and ScienceDirect, in addition to government published information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Upon synthesizing the sources, the results found highlight several common themes that suggest low income

families in California are far more likely to face health and safety risks as a result of drought, flooding, and other natural disasters. Additionally, the economic support systems, both government relief and personal insurance, are more likely to adequately cover damages and rebuilding for higher income families. With these findings, there are several aspects of disaster mitigation that need attention in California, such as reformed drainage systems and transportation in urban areas, and better access to healthcare and support for rural communities. These notions of change are more important now than ever with the increase in severe weather in California, and the implications of this study aim to support regional initiatives and provide leeway for viable support systems to be established in preparation for these events.