The methodology developed by Estudios Técnicos Inc. and the Kaiser Family Foundation for a study on the socioeconomic impact of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico will be featured in a panel during the convention of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, one of the most important research associations in the United States and Canada.
The research conducted by KFF and The Washington Post and carried out by Estudios Técnicos was published on the cover of The Washington Post on the anniversary of the hurricane.
At the AAPOR convention, slated from May 16-19, it will be presented as an example of data collection and methodological considerations after a disaster, the local firm stated.
“For both Puerto Rico and for Estudios Técnicos Inc., this is an important opportunity to present our work before the most outstanding researchers in the United States and Canada,” said Anitza Cox, director of analysis and social policy at Estudios Técnicos Inc.
“This study also has a great social impact in terms of Puerto Rico. To the extent that accurate data compiled after a natural disaster is accessible, not only is there important information for recovery, but it also contributes to our resilience, to understanding how hurricanes, earthquakes and other catastrophes affect us, and to plan how we can improve the future management of these circumstances,” she said.
In addition to collaborating with KFF researchers on the development of the methodology, Estudios Técnicos Inc. was in charge, from July 3 to August 29, 2018, of conducting in-person interviews with 1,500 people aged 18 and older, in 100 groups of census blocks selected based on a stratified probabilistic sample.
The design of the methodology considered other criteria such as geographic criteria, income level and composition of the population of Puerto Rico.
“The fact that they are interested in the methodological procedure that we developed for the study is very important, since it projects that in Puerto Rico there is expertise in the field of research and collection of statistical data, even after an emergency or disaster,” said Carlos Torija, statistician at Estudios Técnicos Inc.
Among the study’s most relevant findings are:
- 83% of the population claimed to be affected by the hurricane in one of the following ways: being without electricity for four months or more; losing a job; destruction of their home or serious damage to it; damaged vehicles; worsened physical and/or mental health; problems getting drinking water.
- A year later, a quarter of Puerto Ricans said their lives were still disrupted; 26% felt their level of stress had gotten worse; 47% had some type of financial problems; 31% needed more help to repair their home; 22% required mental health services.
- The vast majority thought that more resources were needed for reconstruction; 94% see it as urgent for roads and 76% for the power network.
- 54% percent think that federal aid was worse for Puerto Rico than for hurricanes in the United States.
- Even so, despite being overwhelmed by problems, half of Puerto Ricans said they tend to be optimistic about the future of the island.