Social vulnerability is a term describing how resilient a community is when confronted by external stresses on human health. These stresses can range from natural or human-caused disasters to disease outbreaks. By reducing social vulnerability, we can decrease both human suffering and economic losses.

The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) employs U.S. Census Bureau variables to help users identify communities that may need support in preparing for hazards or recovering from disasters. The tool is particularly useful for emergency response planners and public health officials, as it can identify and map the communities that are most likely to need support before, during, and after a hazardous event.