Data Sources

Social Vulnerability Data

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. more


To assess Rhode Island's progress towards advancing health equity, as part of Rhode Island's statewide health equity indicators.

Key Information

Indicator Index score that reflects the social vulnerability of communities
Data Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (updated periodically, 2016 most recent), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Strata Census tract
What this indicator means According to the CDC, social vulnerability refers to "the resilience of communities when confronted by external stresses on human health." Some of these stressors may include disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or other events that are detrimental to a whole community. The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) uses 15 different variables from US Census data to determine which communities are more "socially vulnerable," or which communities may need the most support in preparing for or recovering from disaster. Some of the factors used to determine this indicator include poverty, transportation access, and housing and population density. The CDC Social Vulnerability Index stratifies communities to the Census tract level, and an interactive map of this indicator is available. The Social Vulnerability Index data for Rhode Island ranks Census tracts against all other Census tracts in the state, where the most vulnerable tract is ranked the highest and the least vulnerable tract is ranked the lowest.

Key Findings, 2016

  • Census Tracts 2 and 7 in Providence, Census Tract 152 in Pawtucket, and Census Tract 108 in Central Falls were ranked as the most vulnerable communities in the state.
  • 48 of the top 50 most vulnerable census tracts in Rhode Island are in Providence County.