New Census Bureau Tool Launched to Help Measure Community Resilience to Disasters

Sep 22, 2021

Released last year as an experimental data product, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) garnered so much interest among public and government agencies that the Census Bureau decided to offer it regularly — with tweaks based on user feedback — to help decision-makers plan how to best serve their community.

The Census Bureau defines “community resilience” as the capacity of individuals and households to absorb, endure, and recover from the health, social, and economic impacts of a disaster such as a hurricane or pandemic.

This version of the CRE:

  • Uses the latest data available (2019 American Community Survey, 2019 Population Estimates).
  • Includes updates designed to expand its use in different disaster scenarios, such as added data on internet access, availability of vehicles and updated criteria for crowding and employment characteristics.
  • Going forward, the US Census Bureau is planning annual updates.

The need for these estimates came to the forefront last year as the Census Bureau was inundated with data requests by government agencies that needed to make data-driven decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Census Bureau swiftly created the Census COVID-19 Data Hub in response. But data users wanted more: a metric that could indicate — in simple terms — which communities were most vulnerable to fallout from the pandemic.

So the Census Bureau created the Community Resilience Estimates as part of a series of new experimental data products.

To learn more about the resource and how communities can best utilize its data, see the Community Resilience Estimates here.