Why Did People Stay as Sandy Approached the Jersey Shore?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was none too pleased with residents that decided to ignore is order to evacuate the barrier islands as Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the coast. As most people packed their crap and headed inland, many of us were scratching our heads and wondering why people had decided to stay. Luckily, there are learned professionals who are able to analyze the psychology behind that type of decision.

The researchers, from Stanford University and Princeton University, interviewed people from four groups: New Orleans residents who rode the storm out; residents who left; rescue workers from outside the city who provided assistance during the storm; and people from elsewhere in the country who observed the situation through the media.

They found two important things. The first is that, among the survivors they spoke to, there were a variety of factors that played into the decision to leave or not. One major factor was finances and resources. “Leavers” usually had the money and transportation options to leave the city and friends or relatives outside the storm’s path that they could stay with. “Stayers” usually had less income, fewer or no transportation options to get out of the city, and little to no social network outside of it. Many of those who stayed simply didn’t have the resources to do otherwise and had no choice but to ride things out. [mental_floss]