Very frankly, this is hogwash. This is hogwash because the most important determining factor that separates those who flee from those who stay is economics, not stupidity. Poor people cannot afford to exfiltrate. Many do not have vehicles of their own, which means that they have to leave everything behind, taking only what they can carry in one or two bags with no certainty that their possessions will be there when they come back.
Many of those who stay would not have the money to obtain food and shelter when they got to where they were going.
People with means don’t have to think that way. I would like to see attitudes toward evacuation correlated against gross monthly income before I would jump to the conclusion that the decision to stay is based on ignorance of the consequences.
There are also people who feel they must stay because of their pets, because they, or someone in their party, has a debilitating illness that makes evacuation impossible for them.
Another factor is fatalism. People who are older, poor people, the mentally challenged, and several other subsets of the population have a strong tendency toward fatalism, the belief that they will survive or they won’t but that in the end it really doesn’t matter which outcome they end up with. A large segment of this population are strongly religious people who believe they will be protected by their particularly deity and that fleeing is equivalent to disbelief in their religious avatars.
Yet another problem is that, unless you have had the experience of evacuating under the threat of a natural disaster, you have no idea what that will look or feel like. Not having those pictures available to motivate them, people in this category are being asked to throw themselves into the great unknown. Depending upon your personality type, this can be more threatening than an oncoming storm because you know what the storm looks like, and what it will feel like to shelter in place because you have done it and survived. The fact that the storms are getting worse is also not supported by the actual evidence such as when a Cat 5 storm makes landfall as a Cat 1storm. The boy who cried wolf.
The most important determining factor is whether you have done it before. I have never evacuated. In the 15 years I’ve lived in South Florida, I’ve never evacuated because in South Florida there are only two north-south highways and only ONE east -west highway and, when those become parking lots there is literally nowhere else to run.
In the final analysis, the reality is that our governments have never provided either adequate transportation resources or adequate shelter resources outside the danger zones, in part because no one can really define the danger zones since they keep changing with each new storm.
Your article is based on the primary assumption that the people who choose to stay could leave if only they wanted to. For around 20 percent of the population (at or below the poverty line) that just isn’t true.