Using Financial Transaction Data To Measure Economic Resilience To Natural Disasters

PARTNERS: BBVA Data & Analytics

PROGRAMME AREA: Humanitarian Action 

LAB: Pulse Lab New York 

DOWNLOAD CASE STUDY: UN Global Pulse, ‘Measuring Economic Resilience to Natural Disasters with Financial Transaction Data’, Project Series, no. 24, 2016 [PDF]



This project explored how financial transaction data can be analysed to better understand the economic resilience of people affected by natural disasters. The project used the Mexican state of Baja California Sur as a case study to assess the impact of Hurricane Odile on livelihoods and economic activities over a period of six months in 2014. The project measured daily Point of Sale transactions and ATM withdrawals at high geospatial resolution to gain insight into the way people prepare for and recover from disaster.

The study revealed that people spent 50% more than usual on items such as food and gasoline in preparation for the hurricane and that recovery time ranged from 2 to 40 days depending on characteristics such as gender or income. Findings suggest that insights from transaction data could be used to target emergency response and to estimate economic loss at local level in the wake of a disaster. 

RELATED: Read an announcement of the partnership and project here and here, and a video summary of the project findings here.