Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards Index

Vulnerability is one of the three key constituents of risk, along with hazard and exposure. Vulnerability is propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected and encompasses a variety of concepts and elements including sensitivity to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt. In order to assess climate risk, it is also vital to understand the vulnerability of the population and how it varies spatially. 

An assessment of social vulnerability to environmental hazards has been developed for Ireland using a combination of national census and Copernicus data. The analysis allows users, such as local authorities, to identify areas of high social vulnerability, which is key for informing climate action, spatial planning and economic and community planning to reduce risk from environmental hazards. 

End users

  • Local government 
  • Planners 
  • Researchers 

Added value

  • Identifies the spatial distribution of social vulnerability  
  • Method is adaptable to new locations and hazards 


  • Develop hazard specific indices for heat and flood hazards