Vulnerability is how susceptible you are to harm. It is the result of what resources are available to you and the challenges you face.
Some populations are more likely to face vulnerabilities than others.
Vulnerabilities help predict health problems and your risk for certain diseases or of public health emergencies and your associated risks.
They can also show how diseases can develop and change over time and from one place to another.
Interested in environmental health data?
Join the environmental health listserv by sending an email to DHS Environmental Public Health Tracking with the subject line "Join envhealth listserv."
In the section below, there are frequently asked questions about populations and vulnerabilities in general.
What are vulnerabilities?
Vulnerability is how susceptible you are to harm. It is the result of what resources are available to you and the challenges you face. Some populations are more likely to face vulnerabilities than others. They may come from individual, community, or larger population challenges. Some examples of population vulnerabilities are single-parent households, those living with a disability, people experiencing poverty, and those who are unemployed.
How are vulnerabilities related to environmental health?
It is challenging to measure the relationship between population characteristics and the environment. There is evidence that shows these vulnerabilities do affect a person's exposure to environmental hazards. For example, racial minorities and low-income populations may have a greater risk for exposure to several environmental conditions that can threaten their health. The greater risk is because those populations are more likely to live near hazardous waste sites, in areas with high air pollution levels, and in poor housing conditions.
Why does Wisconsin Tracking track populations and vulnerabilities?
Gathering data on populations and vulnerabilities allows public health professionals to identify high risk groups and plan programs and policies that take into account the needs of certain populations.
By tracking these vulnerabilities we are better able to:
- Predict possible health problems and disease risk in populations
- Understand what is influencing human health in the U.S.
- Understand what influences environmental exposures and human health across the U.S.
- Identify community-specific threats and hazards as well as at-risk populations
- Determine where resources are needed to mitigate or prevent illness, injury, and death
What is the data source?
The source of these data are:
- Intercensal and Postcensal Population Estimates
- American Community Survey (ACS) 5 year estimates
- Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)
- Geospatial Research, Analysis and Services Program (GRASP)/Census
Which topics does Wisconsin Tracking have for populations and vulnerabilities?
Please note that not all topics are available at both the census tract and county geographies.
- Number of people aged 65 years and older living alone in a non-family household
- Number of people aged five years and older that speak English less than "very well"
- Number of people by demographic group
- Number of single-parent households
- Percent of population aged 65 years and over living alone in a non-family household
- Percent of population aged five years and older that speaks English less than "very well"
- Percent of population by demographic group
- Percent of single-parent households
- Health Status
- Age-adjusted estimates of the percent of adults aged 20 years and over diagnosed with diabetes
- Number of people aged 5 years and over with a disability
- Number of people without health insurance
- Percent of population aged 5 years and over with a disability
- Percent of population without health insurance
- Social Vulnerability Index (ATSDR)
- Household composition/disability percentile rank
- Housing/Transportation percentile rank
- Minority Status/Language percentile rank
- Overall percentile vulnerability rank
- Socioeconomic percentile vulnerability rank
- Socioeconomic Status
- Median household income
- Number of people aged 16 years and over who are unemployed
- Number of people aged 25 years and over with high school diploma (or equivalent) or higher
- Number of people living in poverty
- Percent of population aged 16 years and over who are unemployed
- Percent of population aged 25 years and over with high school diploma (or equivalent) or higher
- Percent of population living in poverty
What are some considerations for interpreting the data?
There are numerous considerations to keep in mind when interpreting the data. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Tracking Program Indicators and Data webpage for additional information.
Select the content area from the drop-down list, e.g., Populations and Vulnerabilities. Then select the specific indicator you are interested in from the drop-down list, e.g., "Demographics."