Ethan J. Raker is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia working in the areas of social stratification, medical sociology, and environmental sociology. His scholarship brings together various sources of novel data to examine the relationship between climate change and inequalities in human health and community well-being. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.
Climate change exacerbates the severity, frequency, and patterning of extreme weather. My scholarship examines the consequences of these climate-related extremes, e.g., tropical cyclones and heat waves, for racial and socioeconomic disparities in human health and well-being and for community well-being. In doing so, I focus analytic attention on the role of social contexts and political institutions in creating the conditions for disaster and in responding or changing in ways that exacerbate inequality.
Health and Socio-Environmental Context
In one line of work, I examine how climate change affects physical and mental health outcomes, focusing on the intervening role of social, economic, and political factors. Several projects in this line of work include (1) a long-term panel study of low-income survivors of Hurricane Katrina and (2) a multi-pronged project on fertility and birth outcomes using linked population-level natality data and measures of climate extremes, socioeconomic conditions, and local adaptation.
Disasters and Neighborhood Inequality
In a second line of work, I examine the population consequences of disasters for communities. Here I focus on understanding the role of political institutions in creating disaster-prone conditions and responding in ways that unequally structure post-disaster well-being. Several projects in this line of work include (1) a study of social vulnerability and neighborhood change after tornadoes and (2) several papers examining how mitigation and response policies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) exacerbate racial inequality in the U.S. after tropical cyclones from 2005-2016.
Select Peer-Reviewed Publications
Zacher, Meghan, Ethan J. Raker, Mariana Arcaya, Sarah R. Lowe, Jean Rhodes, & Mary C. Waters. 2021. “Physical health symptoms and Hurricane Katrina: Individual trajectories of development and recovery over a decade after the storm.” American Journal of Public Health 111(1).
Raker, Ethan J., Mariana Arcaya, Sarah R. Lowe, Meghan Zacher, Jean Rhodes, & Mary C. Waters. 2020. “Mitigating health disparities after natural disasters: Lessons from the RISK Project.” Health Affairs 39(12).
Raker, Ethan J., Meghan Zacher, & Sarah R. Lowe. 2020. “Lessons from Hurricane Katrina for predicting the indirect health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(23).
Lowe, Sarah R., Ethan J. Raker, Jean Rhodes, & Mary C. Waters. 2020 “Pre-disaster predictors of post-traumatic stress symptom trajectories: An analysis of low-income women in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” PLOS One 15(10).
Raker, Ethan J. 2020. “Natural hazards, disasters, and demographic change: the case of severe tornadoes in the United States, 1980-2010.” Demography 57(2).
Lowe, Sarah R., Ethan J. Raker, Mariana Arcaya, Meghan Zacher, Jean Rhodes, & Mary C. Waters. 2020. “A life-course model of trauma and mental health among low-income survivors of Hurricane Katrina.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 33(6).
Arcaya, Mariana, Ethan J. Raker, & Mary C. Waters. 2020. “The social consequences of disasters: Individual and community change.” Annual Review of Sociology 46.
Raker, Ethan J., Sarah R. Lowe, Mariana Arcaya, Sydney Johnson, Jean Rhodes, & Mary C. Waters. 2019. “Twelve years later: the long-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Katrina.” Social Science & Medicine 242.
- Ana Aguado Prize, Harvard Environmental Economics Program
- Best Student Paper Award, Political Sociology Section, American Sociological Association