The Big One Will Bankrupt You, Not Kill You

Resilience is about our community’s health.  And nothing is more important than jobs to our community’s health.  So we should be concerned, very concerned, by the  U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics report released today.

The once-per-century-Big-One may kill only as many people as die from food poisoning in the U.S. yearly–several thousand people.  But they may survive and be without any income, according to this report.  This is because more than 430,000 businesses and 4.5 million jobs reside in the areas most likely to be destroyed when the Big One hits Souther California.

In a sparsely described piece of data analysis, the authors merged geo-coded employment data with Lucy Jones’s ShakeOut Scenario model that displays how much shaking will occur and where during a 7.8 earthquake in Southern California.

I became a doctor partly because I thought it would make my income more resilient during tough times (what can I say, I heard too many stories growing up.)  Now I learn healthcare is concentrated in the zones that will be affected most by the shaking.   72 percent of health care workplaces are located in the zones that are classified as “very strong shaking zones” (MMI 7) or “destructive shaking zones” (MMI 8 and higher)–zones that are expected to experience the most damage.   Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, and Education are the other hardest hit industries with the greatest loss of jobs and annual wages.  On the other hand, “Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting” will do relatively well with only 27% of its employed workers in shaking zones.

What I really wanted was to become a forest-ranger.


About David Eisenman

I'm a physician and public health/health services researcher. I want to bring these perspectives to understanding disaster resilience.
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