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How Disasters Affect the Nation’s Housing

Housing

How Disasters Affect the Nation’s Housing

Housing

New Census Housing Unit Estimates Use FEMA Data to Capture Impact of Disasters in Every State

For the first time this decade, U.S. Census Bureau housing unit estimates released today show the impact of natural disasters in towns and cities across the country.

California’s Butte County, site of the Camp Fire in 2018, saw the biggest decline in housing units of any county in the United States. According to the housing unit estimates for July 1, 2019, the number of units went from 100,074 to 86,209, a loss of 13,865 housing units or 13.9% between 2018 and 2019.

This special focus on disaster-affected areas across the nation helps paint a more vivid and current picture of population shifts in communities and, most importantly, helps to inform disaster recovery activities.

Timely access to detailed statistics about disaster-affected populations and housing is critical to planning, emergency response and disaster recovery. The estimates released today were developed using a different approach to capture the impact of disasters.

For this latest series of estimates, the Population Estimates Program expanded the use of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data to add precision to the housing and population estimates for all states within the United States that experienced some type of natural disaster.

The implementation of the FEMA data, as a component of change to measure variation in housing and the population of cities and towns, significantly enhanced the quality and timeliness of these estimates.  

This special focus on disaster-affected areas across the nation helps paint a more vivid and current picture of population shifts in communities and, most importantly, helps to inform disaster recovery activities.

The data visualization below shows annual and cumulative housing unit change for all counties across the United States. The following areas are highlighted:

Butte, Lake, and Shasta Counties, California

In the latter half of 2018, a series of fires devastated communities in Northern California. Butte County, which was the site of the 2018 Camp Fire, experienced a widespread loss in housing units. Between 2010 and 2019, Butte County had the largest numeric and percent decline in housing units of any county in the United States, down 9,629 or 10.0%. Housing unit loss between 2018 and 2019 disrupted the gradual gains Butte County had otherwise experienced since 2010.

Shasta County experienced substantial housing unit loss between 2018 and 2019 as a result of the 2018 Carr Fire. After making steady gains since 2010, Shasta County lost over 570 housing units between 2018 and 2019.

Lake County was one of many counties impacted by the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018 and lost over 140 housing units between 2018 and 2019.

In addition to this more recent fire, the housing unit estimates show the dramatic impact of the Clayton Fire in 2016, which resulted in a loss of over 1,100 units in Lake County between 2015 and 2016.

Bay, Calhoun, and Jackson Counties, Florida

These counties in the Florida panhandle were impacted by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.

After experiencing slight increases in housing units during the 2010 decade, Calhoun County lost over 80 housing units between 2018 and 2019. Jackson County lost nearly 70 housing units over the same period.

Although Bay County gained 447 housing units between 2018 and 2019, this was a significant drop from the gains it experienced the prior year (1,511), largely because of the loss resulting from Hurricane Michael.

Fremont and Mills Counties, Iowa

In the spring of 2019, a number of floods impacted Iowa. The most severe were seen in Fremont and Mills counties.

Between 2018 and 2019, Mills County lost 70 housing units while Fremont County lost over 20.

Timely statistics for all areas across the nation are key to getting the assistance communities need. It also helps focus FEMA recovery efforts in the most affected areas where large influxes of people have been forced into temporary or permanent displacement.

 

Lauren Medina and David Armstrong are demographer-statisticians in the Census Bureau’s Population Division.

 

 

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This story was posted in: Housing


Tags: Housing , Population
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