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Estudios Técnicos’ post-Hurricane Maria study to be featured at research convention in Canada

By on May 9, 2019

Anitza Cox and Carlos Torija of Estudios Técnicos (Courtesy)

Puerto Rico consulting firm invited to present methodology developed with Kaiser Family Foundation

SAN JUAN – The methodology developed by Puerto Rico-based consulting firm Estudios Técnicos Inc. (ETI) and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a healthcare-focused nonprofit, for a study on the socioeconomic impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico will be featured in a panel during the convention of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

The research conducted by KFF and the Washington Post and carried out by Estudios Técnicos was published on the latter’s cover on the anniversary of the hurricane. At the AAPOR convention, it will be presented as an example of data collection and methodological considerations after a disaster. The 74th annual AAPOR convention will be held in Toronto, Canada from May 16 to May 19.

“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. 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,” explained Anitza Cox, director of Analysis and Social Policy at ETI.

In addition to collaborating with KFF researchers on the development of the methodology, ETI was in charge, from July 3, 2018, to Aug. 29, 2018, of conducting in-person interviews with 1,500 people ages 18 and older, in 100 groups of “census blocks selected based on a stratified probabilistic sample,” according to the firm. The design of the methodology considered other criteria such as geographic criteria, income level and composition of the island’s population.

“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,” ETI statistician Carlos Torija said.

At the convention, Cox will be presenting with Liz Hamel, director of KFF’s Public Opinion and Survey Research team. The survey is the 33rd in a series of surveys dating back to 1995 that have been conducted as part of the Washington Post/KFF Survey Project, a partnership combining survey research and reporting. The study was directed by researchers at KFF with the support of SSRS, a research firm.

ETI noted the following as among the study’s most relevant findings:

  • 83% of Puerto Rico’s 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 that 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 electric network.
  • 54% percent think that federal aid was worse for Puerto Rico than for hurricanes that struck stateside.
  • Despite being overwhelmed by problems, half of Puerto Ricans said they tend to be optimistic about the future of the island.

Estudios Técnicos Inc. has carried out other post-Maria studies such as on the impact of Hurricane Maria on children, for the Institute of Youth Development, Save the Children and Ángel Ramos Foundation. Another study was about the response of nonprofit organizations after María, commissioned by the Puerto Rico Foundations Network. In addition, it has performed studies, for professional associations, on the impact of the hurricane in specific industries.

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