KWRRI Research Reports


The states of Kentucky and Ohio have numerous reservoir projects at various stages of planning and construction. Each of the projects produces substantial social impact for the residents of the area and particularly for those persons affected by a loss of property and homes. This impact is not uniform in that people respond differently to displacement and the methods of adjusting relocation are known to differ among people.

This research was initiated to develop and test a model for explaining migration under such conditions. The model includes a consideration of people's potential for transferring existing statuses to new residences, the extent to which peoples interests are served by the reservoir, people's knowledge of the reservoir, the social class levels of those displaced and the extent to which people identify with their places of residence. These factors are viewed as affecting people's levels of apprehension and consequently their willingness to separate from their current membership systems.

Data for this investigations come from all the adult residents of the areas to be flooded neat Taylorsville, Kentucky and Lebanon, Ohio. These areas are in the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and exhibit similar topographies with rural populations of similar socio-economic and social isolation.

The testing of this model indicated that apprehensions over money is greatest for those persons who identify strongly with their present homes. Also, apprehension over migration was less for those persons whose vested interests were served by the project. Knowledge of the reservoir project did not reduce apprehensions over moving as was predicted by the model.

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The work upon which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the United States Department of the Interior, Office of Water Resources Research, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.