In September 2021, FEMA released the full results and data for the 2020 National Household Survey (NHS) for public use on OpenFEMA, making this the fourth year of complete data available (2017-2020). To facilitate equitable community disaster preparedness for stakeholders, FEMA has published the survey instrument used to field the data in both English and Spanish alongside the full results.
The NHS tracks progress in personal disaster preparedness through investigations of the American public’s preparedness actions, attitudes, and motivations. FEMA has conducted the NHS annually since 2013 and has been publishing the full data since 2017. The 2021 survey was fielded in English and Spanish via landline and mobile telephone to a random sampling of approximately 5,000 adult respondents. The survey includes a national sample as well as hazard-specific questions asked to individuals that live in areas that are at risk for, or could be heavily impacted by, those hazards. These include earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, winter storms, and urban events (such as a terrorist attack).
With multiple years of data available, researchers and stakeholders have the opportunity to analyze trends through time and patterns in preparedness. FEMA encourages the use of our data for improving the effectiveness of your preparedness messaging, campaigns, and research.
Legend:Blue = 2020 NHS;Gray = 2019 NHS
The NHS data includes various demographics such as age, gender, race, primary household language, number of children under the age of eighteen in a household, and more, all to better understand the way that identity, inclusion, and equity influences preparedness. For example, the 2020 NHS data suggests, among many other findings:
- Individuals who rent, rather than own homes, are about twice as likely to rely on public transportation during a disaster. This information can help emergency responders prepare communities with a high density of rented homes and plan transportation assistance.
- Those whose primary language is non-English are 21% less likely to have identified a source for disaster alerts and warnings, highlighting how some underserved communities may not be getting equal access to information.
- The likelihood of participating in a drill increases with the number of people in the household, indicating that larger families tend to see value in preparedness and are willing to act, however there was no relationship between household size and making your own emergency plan, meaning that families of all sizes would benefit from guidance in taking that extra step.
These are just a few national-level examples of what is available in the full data. Users may also filter the data by geographic region or jurisdiction of interest.
FEMA encourages researchers, academics, emergency management personnel, and all members of the public to download and use the NHS.
Let us know how you used the data!
Email us at FEMAfirstname.lastname@example.org. Preparedness is a collaborative effort. To reinforce a culture of preparedness, we welcome opportunities to collaborate in preparedness research and want to hear about any new research findings that you have.
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