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Census tool tracking COVID-19 resiliency could someday help with natural disasters

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 8:34 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new tool from the U.S. Census Bureau that currently tracks how communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic could be expanded to one day cover natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

The Community Resilience Estimates tool is being used to identify communities that may be most impacted by disaster.

The tool uses a number of different data sources ranging from the 2018 American Community Survey to the IRS, Housing and Urban Development and even third parties like Zillow to identify a number of risk factors. Those risk factors can range from poverty and communication barriers to the number of people with disabilities, and many of them put people at higher risk not just of things like COVID but can also show communities most at risk when disaster strikes.

That then can help create plans to reduce a disaster’s impacts and help officials determine where and how to allocate resources and funding.

The Census Bureau plans to release new data from its 2019 American Community Survey by the end of this month.

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