Evacuations as a Result of Hurricane Sandy: Analysis of the 2014 New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey

Prathit A. Kulkarni, Hui Gu, Stella Tsai, Marian Passannante, Soyeon Kim, Pauline A. Thomas, Christina G. Tan, Amy L. Davidow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective We characterized evacuations related to Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Methods We analyzed data from the 2014 New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. The proportion of respondents reporting evacuation was used to estimate the number of New Jersey adults who evacuated. We determined evacuation rates in heavily impacted and less-impacted municipalities, as well as evacuation rates for municipalities under and not under mandatory evacuation orders. We tested associations between demographic and health factors, such as certain chronic health conditions, and evacuation. Results Among respondents, 12.7% (95% CI: 11.8%-13.6%) reported evacuating, corresponding to approximately 880,000 adults. In heavily impacted municipalities, 17.0% (95% CI: 15.2%-18.7%) evacuated, compared with 10.1% (95% CI: 9.0%-11.2%) in less-impacted municipalities. In municipalities under mandatory evacuation orders, 42.5% (95% CI: 35.1%-49.8%) evacuated, compared with 11.8% (95% CI: 10.9%-12.9%) in municipalities not under mandatory orders. Female gender (odds ratio [OR]: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.14-1.64), unmarried status (OR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.02-1.46), shorter length of residence (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.03-1.60), and living in a heavily impacted municipality (OR: 1.84; 95% CI: 1.54-2.20) were significantly associated with evacuation. History of stroke (OR: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.02-2.53) was the only chronic condition associated with evacuation. Conclusions Approximately 880,000 New Jersey adults evacuated because of Hurricane Sandy. Those in heavily impacted municipalities and municipalities under mandatory evacuation orders had higher evacuation rates; however, still fewer than half evacuated. These findings can be used for future disaster planning. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:720-728).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-728
Number of pages9
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Hurricane
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • New Jersey
  • evacuation


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