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The Impact of Hurricane Maria: The Census Bureau’s response to conducting the Decennial Census in Puerto Rico

Authors: Jonathan Rivas*,
Topics: Population Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Applied Geography
Keywords: Census Bureau, Puerto Rico, Tabulation Geography, Natural Disaster, GIS, Population
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this study, we examine the impact of Hurricane Maria on the preparation and execution of the Decennial Census for the Island of Puerto Rico. The Census Bureau is responsible for tracking America’s legal boundaries and population data. Accurate legal and statistical boundaries and addresses allow the Census Bureau to count all residents and ensures that the best data is available for users. Census data is used to distribute $675 billion dollars annually for federal programs and services, including education, housing, health care services, transportation, and more. Conducting this large-scale operation in an area that is still recovering from natural disaster presents a unique set of challenges. This presentation observes lessons learned from previous natural disasters in the US and outlines the US Census Bureau’s current plan and actions towards conducting a post-Hurricane Maria Decennial Census operation for the Island of Puerto Rico.

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