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Doubt Persists Over Puerto Rico Preparedness for Future Hurricanes

A June poll indicates that more than three quarters of Puerto Ricans believe that the island is unprepared for a hurricane should another storm develop during 2018.

The survey, taken June 19-25, found that only five percent of respondents were “very confident” that Puerto Rico is prepared for the current hurricane season. Sixteen percent of those polled were “somewhat confident” that Puerto Rico is prepared should another storm hit.

More than half of the roughly 800 respondents (54%) said that they were “not confident at all” in Puerto Rico’s level of preparedness, and 23% were “not very confident” that the island would be prepared for future hurricane strength storms.

In addition, nearly six in ten respondents indicated that they had either barely recovered from the storms of 2017 or still had “a long way to go” for recovery.  Low income individuals were the least likely to feel that they had recovered from last season’s devastation.

Slightly more than a third of Puerto Ricans polled who had not lived on the mainland have considered moving. Top destinations include Florida, New York and Texas.  Three percent responded that they would simply move wherever there was work.  A lack of jobs in Puerto Rico was perceived as the top motivator behind people moving to the states. There was widespread agreement among those polled that economic development remains important to Puerto Ricans.

Consistent with these findings, over 90% of respondents indicated that U.S. citizenship is either somewhat or very important to them.  Particularly in light of current federal scrutiny over immigration policy and immigrants, U.S. citizenship has enabled the extensive migration to states that Puerto Ricans have taken advantage of since Hurricane Maria.

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