CDC Social Vulnerability Index

CDC Social Vulnerability Index


The CDC Social Vulnerability Index uses 15 U.S. census variables to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, or after disasters. The index provides data on state-level, county-level, and census tract–level social vulnerability for the entire United States (where data were available). Social vulnerability data can be broken down into four components: socioeconomic status, minority status, household composition, and housing/transportation. The toolkit also points to several groups and projects that have utilized social vulnerability data to identify at-risk groups.

Target Situation:

Public health professionals who want to assess the degree of social vulnerability of communities that may experience an environmental catastrophe.

Case Studies:

Flanagan, B. E., Gregory, E. W., Hallisey, E. J., Heitgerd, J. L., & Lewis, B. (2011). A social vulnerability index for disaster management. Journal of homeland security and emergency management, 8(1).

Provides an overview of the Social Vulnerability Index and offers a case study of vulnerabilities of communities affected by Hurricane Katrina to show the potential value of the Social Vulnerability Index. pdf icon[PDF – 2.26 MB]

Additional Reading:

Hallisey, E.J. (2018). Measuring community vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic hazards: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index. Journal of Environmental Health, 80(10), 34-36.

Provides general overview of the social vulnerability index. pdf icon[PDF – 1.42 MB]

Resource Type:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Publication Year:

Target Audience(s):
Public health professionals, emergency managers, local government

3 Keys Framework

3 Keys Framework - Prepare icon

Main objective:

Secondary objective:
Community Preparation

Page last reviewed: March 23, 2021