In the United States, Florida ranks among the fastest–growing states in the country. Much of this growth is a result of movement by residents of other states to the milder climate of the Southeast. Students can speculate about why people seem to disregard environmental risk and consider the implications of such location decisions. The islands of the Caribbean Basin are also subject to damaging tropical storms. Students should examine population trends in the Caribbean and evaluate the consequences for people when severe storms strike heavily populated areas.


  • To identify patterns of population change in areas with a history of major storm risk
  • To evaluate the human and economic costs of a major natural disaster
  • To explore why people move to places likely to experience major storms
  • To examine the impact of tropical storms on islands within the Caribbean Basin

Content Standards

AP Human Geography*: Unit II—Population Unit
A. Geographical analysis of population
4. Population and natural hazards: past, present, and future

Student Activities

Lesson Resources

"In Harm's Way" (Population Reference Bureau, 2004)

"The United States Hurricane Problem" (NOAA)

"Geographical Mobility: 1995 to 2000" (U.S. Census Bureau 2000 Brief)

Brief human geography descriptions of Puerto Rico

Central Concepts: Population and natural hazards

Case Locations: Florida Coast and the Caribbean Basin

This lesson plan is part of a teaching package, Making Population Real: New Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities.

* AP and the Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of these lesson plans.