Social vulnerability refers to the resilience of communities when confronted by external stresses on human health, stresses such as natural or human-caused disasters, or disease outbreaks. Reducing social vulnerability can decrease both human suffering and economic loss.
The Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR), Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) tool was created to help public health officials and emergency response planners identify and map the communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a hazardous event. The Social Vulnerability Index indicates the relative vulnerability of every U.S. Census tract. Census tracts are subdivisions of counties for which the Census collects statistical data. The SVI ranks the tracts on 15 social factors, including unemployment, minority status, and disability, and further groups them into four related themes. Thus each tract receives a ranking for each Census variable and for each of the four themes, as well as an overall ranking. In addition to tract-level rankings, SVI 2010 and SVI 2014 also have corresponding rankings at the county level.
The SVI can be used to:
- Allocate emergency preparedness funding by community need.
- Estimate the amount and type of needed supplies like food, water, medicine, and bedding.
- Decide how many emergency personnel are required to assist people.
- Identify areas in need of emergency shelters.
- Create a plan to evacuate people, accounting for those who have special needs, such as those without vehicles, the elderly, or people who do not understand English well.
- Identify communities that will need continued support to recover following an emergency or natural disaster.
To access the SVI Mapping Dashboard, visit https://svi.cdc.gov/map.aspx?txtzipcode=70806&btnzipcode=Submit
More information about the SVI Mapping Dashboard can be found at https://goo.gl/ggXZKi