Disruptive earthquakes hit Sichuan Province, China, in 2008. This article describes the earthquake risk perception of residents in the most badly damaged area of Sichuan. Specifically, this research explores the extent to which risk perception is related to a household’s socioeconomic characteristics and their financial protection from natural hazards. A household survey was conducted in a Special Administrative Region within Wenchuan County. Residents strongly believe that major earthquakes are unlikely to return in the next decade, although potential impacts are expected to be significant. The perceived likelihood and severity of future earthquake disasters increased with the intensity of the damage from past earthquakes, i.e., the most greatly affected victims tend to rate the risk higher. Income levels had a negative effect on the perceived earthquake likelihood. Moreover, many local residents did not appear to be financially prepared for earthquakes. The degree of financial protection from earthquakes had only modest impacts on risk perception. These results provide mixed evidence for the hypothesis that individuals who are better prepared for hazards tend to perceive related risks lower than others. We call for further research into how rising incomes and the ability to secure disaster finances affect community resilience to natural hazards. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
CitationLo, A. Y., & Cheung, L. T. O. (2015). Seismic risk perception in the aftermath of Wenchuan earthquakes in southwestern China. Natural Hazards, 78(3), 1979-1996.
- Risk perception
- Financial protection
- Community resilience