The U.S. Census Bureau will release on June 7 two special data products for the Gulf Coast area affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The first product provides special population estimates for the hurricane-affected areas along the Gulf Coast, as of Jan. 1, 2006. While not official figures, these estimates provide the population size before and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the region last fall. The estimates cover the 117 counties initially designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as eligible for individual or public assistance (IPA). In December, Gulf Coast states will have the next snapshot of their population totals when the Census Bureau releases the official 2006 mid-year population estimates for all states.
The second product shows the demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics of the population in those 117 IPA counties. These data come from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), which is ordinarily designed to produce annual estimates of characteristics of population and housing based on at least a full year of data collection. However, to provide an earlier look at the hurricanes’ effect on the region, the Census Bureau divided the 2005 data into an eight-month period (January through August) before the hurricanes and a four-month period (September through December) after the hurricanes. Because of the shorter time periods, the sample sizes and the reliability of the estimates are reduced. In addition, for many areas, conducting interviews in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes proved very difficult. The 2005 ACS sample was selected from an address list developed early in 2005 and therefore the estimates will not reflect any (including temporary) housing added to the address list after that date.
This special ACS product precedes the planned 2005 ACS data releases, the first of which is scheduled for Aug. 15. Demographic, social, housing and economic data for the nation, states and Census Bureau tabulation areas of 65,000 or more will be available starting on that date and continuing in three additional data releases scheduled later in 2006. Data will also be released for the Puerto Rico Community Survey. The ACS, fully implemented across the nation in 2005, provides annual updates on characteristics data that were previously only available every 10 years. For more information on the ACS, visit the online news kit <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/newsmediakit.html>.
Both of these special data products for the Gulf Coast represent an effort by the Census Bureau to aid local officials and shed some light on the hurricanes’ effects on the region. However, the tabulation of these data were generated using different methodologies than either program, the mid-year Population Estimates or American Community Survey, were designed to use (see the methodology documents for more information). For instance, the special population estimates used an extrapolation approach along with a special Hurricane Katrina change of address file, rather than the component of population change approach normally used to produce population estimates. While the ACS data are normally controlled to mid-year population estimates, the 2005 ACS Special Product for the Gulf Coast data are not controlled to these estimates.
A one-day media embargo for the Special Products for the Gulf Coast Areas will begin on June 6 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT). These data are scheduled for public release on June 7.
Reporters with assigned logins and passwords may access the Special Products for the Gulf Coast areas under embargo until June 7, 12:01 a.m. (EDT) by visiting the “embargoed releases” section at <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/> on the Census Bureau Web site. Media members without logins and passwords can obtain a temporary login and password by calling the Census Bureau Public Information Office at 301-763-3030.
After the embargo period, the data can also be accessed from the American Community Survey Web site <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/> and a new Hurricane Data and Emergency Preparedness Web page on the Census Bureau Web site.
For more information, please contact Stephen Buckner or Stacy Gimbel in the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office at 301-763-3691.