U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

Natural Disaster Research Project

Summary: This research project leverages the Census Bureau's Data Linkage infrastructure to assist agencies in conducting research related to natural disaster and hazard mitigation, preparedness, resilience, response, and recovery. The project also hopes to serve as a mechanism to facilitate interagency research projects as a means to improve coordination and cooperation across agencies. By increasing the utility of Census Bureau data for studying public programs and social conditions pertaining to hazards, the project supports the mission of the Census Bureau to serve as the nation's leading provider of quality data about its people and economy. It also supports FEMA's National Mitigation Investment Strategy, the National Preparedness Goal, and helps agencies fulfill their responsibilities under the Evidence Act.

View data available for natural disaster research at Census (PDF, < 1.0 MB)

Current Research

Mapping the Wildland-Urban Interface: Characterizing WUI Extent and Demographics to Understand Wildfire Mitigation and Outcomes

These challenges are the result of interacting social and ecological factors, including climate change, a legacy of fire suppression, and expanding housing development in areas known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Efforts to “live with fire” in ways that minimize risk to human lives and properties are now a central goal of wildfire policy in the US, at all levels of government. Understanding WUI environments has emerged as a critical centerpiece of these efforts. The project enhances knowledge of WUI areas, by linking Census data on housing and household characteristics as well as businesses and business characteristics with remotely sensed land cover data on vegetation.


Miranda H. Mockrin, USDA Forest Service

Outside Data-

USDA Wildlife Urban Interface data

USDA Wildfire perimeters

FEMA/National Fire Data Center (NFDC) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data

FEMA/US Fire Administration Special Data on Fire Departments

NIST Fire Simulation Data

Long Run Impacts of Hurricanes and Natural Disasters on Outcomes for Families

The project asks about long-run changes in outcomes for families in areas highly affected by disasters and hazards versus areas less affected by natural disasters, such as hurricanes. Outcomes include employment status, location, earnings, wealth, and homeownership status for the adults in the family.  For the children (at the time of the disaster), long-run outcomes examined will include years of schooling, college attendance, college degree attainment, marital status, earnings, employment and occupation.  Research will distinguish among: a) disruptive effects of the disaster itself, b) disruptive effects from permanent moves, c) potential positive effects from relocating children to a new and more advantageous geographic area, as measured in the Atlas of Economic Opportunity.


Gloria Aldana, US Census Bureau

Bruce Sacerdote, Dartmouth College

Andrew Barr, Texas A&M University

Scott Imberman, Michigan State University


Texas Education Agency student level data

Louisiana Department of Education student level data

Census Data: Decennial Census, American Community Survey, LEHD, Opportunity Atlas Data Tables

Page Last Revised - November 15, 2022
Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes Thumbs Down Image No
255 characters maximum 255 characters maximum reached
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?


Back to Header