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Journal Article


Gaston SA, Galea S, Cohen GH, Kwok RK, Rung AL, Peters ES, Jackson CL. Am. J. Public Health 2019; 109(8): 1079-1083.


Symielle A. Gaston, Richard K. Kwok, and Chandra L. Jackson are with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC. Sandro Galea and Gregory H. Cohen are with the School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA. Ariane L. Rung and Edward S. Peters are with the Epidemiology Program, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans.


(Copyright © 2019, American Public Health Association)






Increasing in frequency and impact in the United States and worldwide, disasters can lead to serious mental health consequences. Although US census data are essential for disaster preparedness and the identification of community-level risk factors for adverse postdisaster mental health outcomes, the US Census Bureau faces many challenges as we approach 2020 Decennial Census data collection. Despite the utility of the information provided by the Census and American Community Survey (ACS), the 2020 US Census and subsequent ACS data face threats to validity. As a result, public health funding could be misallocated, and disaster preparedness and response efforts misinformed; this can also contribute to the worsening of mental health inequities, particularly in the context of disaster. Undercutting the Census and the ACS, rich data sources that allow representation of all people in the United States, is a step backward in our effort to mitigate the population mental health consequences of disasters. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print June 20, 2019: e1-e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305150).

Language: en


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