Social Vulnerability Index

The Social Vulnerability Index uses data about social vulnerability from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected within the American Community Survey. Social vulnerability is defined by the CDC as a measure of how able a community is to respond and bounce back from hazardous events such as natural disaster, tornado, or disease outbreak. Some of the measures in the index include socioeconomic status, household composition, diversity, minority status, language, housing, and transportation.

Housing in New Mexico, by Duncan Rawlinson, via Flickr.

How is it measured?

The report card scored regions that are more vulnerable according to the CDC as less healthy, and regions that are less vulnerable as more healthy. According to the CDC, a social vulnerability index score of a 1 is the highest vulnerability a census tract can have. This would translate to a score of a zero in the report card. Social Vulnerability data came from the CDC’s website ( The data were scored by census tract. Census tracts were weighted by population to a score for each reporting region.