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Data Key To Hurricane Response

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The United States had not been struck by a major hurricane in 12 years until this year, when a series of hurricanes of historic strength devastated parts of Texas, Florida and other coastal states, along with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

U.S. Census Bureau statistics have become critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts during such disasters.

Hurricane season officially started June 1 and extends to Nov. 30 and every year, more people live in the path of storms and hurricanes.

In the contiguous United States, population in 185 coastal counties has increased 9.4 percent in 10 years, from 54.5 million on July 1, 2006 to 59.6 million on July 1, 2016, according to Census Bureau estimates. An estimated 44.8 percent of the nation’s population live in coastal states from Maine to Texas along a coastline that stretches over 46.510 miles.

The areas most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes are 129 counties along the Atlantic Coast and 56 along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Census Bureau’s local and economic demographic statistics from the American Community Survey gives communities a detailed look at neighborhood-level data for real-time emergency planning.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast faced many years of rebuilding and knowing how populations were rebounding was critical to community leaders and planners. To learn more about how the Census Bureau produced population estimates for places where many homes were destroyed and people displaced, see: After Hurricane Katrina: Where are They Now?

For a visual display of natural disasters and weather events, including wildfires, floods and hurricanes, go to the Census Bureau's OnTheMap for Emergency Management.

More statistics can be found in the Emergency Preparednesss section of Facts For Features: 2017 Hurricane Season Begins, released jointly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


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