Social Vulnerability Index for the United States - 42 Variables
This formulation of SoVI® is outdated, and presented here for information purposes only.
Social vulnerability is a culmination of economic, demographic, and housing
characteristics that influence a community’s ability to respond to, cope with,
recover from, and adapt to environmental hazards. The Social Vulnerability Index
(SoVI®) quantifies the social vulnerability of U.S. counties to environmental
hazards and results in a comparative metric that facilitates the examination of the
differences in social vulnerability among them. SoVI® synthesizes 42 socioeconomic
and built environment variables, which the research literature suggests influence a
community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards.
SoVI is a valuable tool for policy makers and practitioners. It graphically illustrates the
geographic variation in social vulnerability. It shows where there is uneven capacity for
preparedness and response and where resources might be used most effectively to reduce the
pre-existing vulnerability. SoVI® also is useful as an indicator in determining the
differential recovery from disasters.
The initial SoVI® methodology and results for 1990 were originally published
S. L. Cutter, B. J. Boruff, and W. L. Shirley 2003. “Social Vulnerability to
Environmental Hazards,” Social Science Quarterly 84 (2): 242-261.
Maps for this 42-variable formulation can be found here.