Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) to Environmental Hazards

Created: 10/26/2020 - Updated: 8/03/2022


The Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI®) 2010-14 measures the social vulnerability of U.S. counties to environmental hazards. The index is a comparative metric that facilitates the examination of the differences in social vulnerability among counties. SoVI® is a valuable tool for policymakers and practitioners because it graphically illustrates the geographic variation in social vulnerability. It shows where there is an 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 using empirically-based information.

The index synthesizes 29 socioeconomic variables, which the research literature suggests contribute to reduction in a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards. SoVI® data sources primarily include those from the United States Census Bureau.


  • Policymakers & Practitioners
Contact Person: Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, Department of Geography
Phone: (803) 777-1699


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Scale of Project
Sector Addressed
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy