, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 265–275

Demographic effects of natural disasters: a case study of hurricane andrew*

Migration and Population Redistribution

DOI: 10.2307/2061876

Cite this article as:
Smith, S.K. & McCarty, C. Demography (1996) 33: 265. doi:10.2307/2061876


Many studies have considered the economic, social, and psychological effects of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, but few have considered their demographic effects. In this paper we describe and evaluate a method for measuring the effects of Hurricane Andrew on the housing stock and population distribution in Dade County, Florida. Using information collected through sample surveys and from other data sources, we investigate the extent of housing damages, the number of people forced out of their homes, where they went, how long they stayed, and whether they returned to their prehurricane residences. We conclude that more than half the housing units in Dade County were damaged by Hurricane Andrew; that more than 353,000 people were forced to leave their homes, at least temporarily; and that almost 40,000 people left the county permanently as a direct result of the hurricane. We believe that this study will provide methodological guidance to analysts studying the demographic effects of other large-scale natural disasters.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bureau of Economic and Business ResearchUniversity of FloridaGainesville