This project responds to the disastrous displacement of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by placing these events in a broader historical and geographic perspective. Estimates of damage from all recorded storms in the period 1950- 2000, showing at a high resolution the boundaries of areas that suffered flooding or wind damage, will be brought together in a Geographic Information System framework with other data on population change and economic activity. Analyses will assess the impact of storm damage on subsequent changes in human communities, estimate the duration of such impacts, and evaluate which population groups are, by their location, most at risk of damage. Analyses will incorporate existing data (and where necessary develop new estimates) on economic activity in counties from County Business Patterns (available as an annual time series since 1970) and Bureau of Economic Analysis (since 1969), net migration of population of counties by race, age, and sex (available as an annual time series since 1970, and across decades for 1950-2000) and by education, age, race, and sex of the population of counties (to be estimated for the 1990-2000 decade), and the size and composition of the population of census tracts (available for urbanized areas beginning in 1950 and for all areas in 1990 and 2000). A special feature of these analyses will be the estimation of spatial effects, determining whether population or economic activity tends to be displaced to adjacent counties or whether damage extending across multiple counties accentuates its effects.
This project responds to the disastrous displacement of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by placing these events in a broader historical and geographic perspective. The project will provide new information about the short-term and long- term consequences of storms on economic activity and human settlements, information that is essential to formulation of public policies to promote sustainable communities.