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Facts for Features: 2017 Hurricane Season Begins

Press Release Number CB17-FF.13

The North Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30. The U.S. Census Bureau produces timely local statistics that are critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts. The growth in population of coastal areas illustrates the importance of emergency planning and preparedness for areas that are more susceptible to inclement weather conditions. The Census Bureau’s rich local economic and demographic statistics from the American Community Survey gives communities a detailed look at neighborhood-level statistics for real-time emergency planning for the nation’s growing coastal population.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast faced many years of rebuilding, and learning how populations were rebounding was critical for community leaders. For the Census Bureau, producing population estimates for places where many homes had been destroyed and people displaced presented a unique but vital challenge. To learn more about how this was done, take a look at the Random Samplings Blog: After Hurricane Katrina: Where are They Now? This Facts for Features highlights the populations of those counties most heavily effected by Hurricane Katrina.

Emergency planners and community leaders can better assess the needs of coastal populations using Census Bureau statistics. This Facts for Features edition also highlights the number of people living in areas that could be most affected by these acts of nature. The statistics in the Emergency Preparedness section of this Facts for Features are released jointly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the Hurricane’s Path


The number of years since the United States was struck by a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher). The last one was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 over Southwest Florida.


The number of hurricanes during the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season. During the 2016 season, eight named storms did not strengthen into hurricanes.


The number of coastline counties along the Atlantic (129 counties) and Gulf of Mexico (56 counties) most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes.

59.6 million

The population as of July 1, 2016, of the 185 coastline counties stretching from Maine to Texas. In 2006, the population of these counties was 54.5 million. That is an increase of about 5.1 million, or 9.4 percent.


The percentage growth of the population of the 98 coastline counties stretching from North Carolina to Texas between 2006 and 2016. These counties grew from 23.9 million (23,892,104) in 2006, to 27.4 million (27,362,058) in 2016; a numeric increase of 3.5 million (3,469,954).


The collective land area in square miles of the states stretching from Maine to Texas.


The number of miles of coastline from Maine to Texas.

144.6 million

The population as of July 1, 2016, of coastal states stretching from Maine to Texas — the areas most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes. An estimated 44.8 percent of the nation’s population lives in these states. In 2006, the population of these states was 131.3 million, or 44.0 percent of the nation’s population.


The percentage growth of the population of the states stretching from Maine to Texas between 2006 and 2016.

61.0 million

The number of housing units as of July 1, 2016, of the coastal states stretching from Maine to Texas. An estimated 45.0 percent of the nation’s housing units are located in these states. In 2006, the estimated number of housing units was 56.5 million

3.4 million

The number of business establishments in 2015 in the coastal states stretching from Maine to Texas. There were 54,895,165 paid workers in these establishments.

Source: 2015 County Business Patterns - County Business Patterns only include employer establishments (i.e., establishments with paid employees). Nonemployer establishments (i.e., establishments without paid employees) are not included in these totals.

Emergency Preparedness


The number of types of weather-related events — hurricanes and tropical storms, wildfires, flood outlook areas, disaster declaration areas and winter storms — that the Census Bureau’s OnTheMap for Emergency Management tool tracks. OnTheMap for Emergency Management provides reports on the workforce and population for current natural hazard and emergency related events.

Following Statistics Released Jointly With U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


The percentage of U.S. homes that have a prepared emergency evacuation kit. The level of preparedness varies by metro area, with about 70 percent of households in the Miami and Tampa, Fla., metro areas having emergency supplies readily available in the event of an evacuation. The Austin (Texas), Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas had among the lowest rate of homes with an emergency preparedness kit. The rates for Austin, Chicago and Minneapolis were not significantly different from one another.


The percentage of U.S. homes that have an emergency water supply.


The percentage of occupied housing units that have enough nonperishable emergency food to sustain everyone for three days.

Source: 2013 American Housing Survey, Table S06AO


The percentage of homes where the occupants said they would likely stay with relatives or friends during a two-week evacuation to a safe place that was at least 50 miles away. This was followed by staying at a hotel or motel (18.1 percent) or public shelter (4.1 percent). 

Source: 2013 American Housing Survey, Table S06AO


The percentage of single-family homes (excluding manufactured/mobile homes) that have a generator.


The percentage of U.S. homes with at least one pet. Of the 56 million homes with a pet, 26.8 percent need help evacuating or sheltering pets while 72.6 percent do not need assistance.

Source: 2013 American Housing Survey, Table S06AO


The percentage of occupied housing units that have a house or building number clearly visible.

Source: 2013 American Housing Survey, Table S06AO

History of Hurricane Naming Conventions


The name of the first Atlantic storm of 2017. Hurricane names rotate in a six-year cycle with the 2017 list being a repeat of the 2011 names. The names Matthew and Otto were retired from the 2016 list and were replaced with Martin and Owen.


The number of Atlantic hurricane and tropical cyclone names officially retired by the World Meteorological Organization. Although hurricane names are recycled every six years, for reasons of sensitivity, hurricanes and tropical storms that were so deadly and costly that reuse of the name would be considered inappropriate are retired.


The year the Weather Bureau officially began naming hurricanes.


In one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, 28 named storms formed, forcing use of the alternate Greek alphabet scheme for the first time. When the National Hurricane Center’s list of 21 approved names runs out for the year, hurricanes are named after Greek letters. Of the 28 named storms in 2005, 15 were hurricanes in which seven were major (Category 3 or higher). Four hurricanes reached Category 5 status (Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma).


Despite preseason forecasts for an active hurricane season, that year had the fewest Atlantic hurricanes since 1982. While the year had a slightly above-average number of named storms (14), only two of these storms became hurricanes. For the first time since 1994, no hurricane reached major hurricane strength (Category 3 or higher). No hurricanes and only one tropical storm, Andrea, made landfall in the United States, causing one fatality. 

For the 2015 summary, see: <www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/summary_atlc_2015.pdf>.

The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

Black (African American) History Month (February)
Super Bowl
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
      St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Mother's Day
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
Father's Day
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day
The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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