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Populations and Vulnerabilities

Tracking Populations and Vulnerabilities

Tracking population characteristics and vulnerabilities in a standard way over time allows us to

  • identify populations or geographies likely to be at-risk for acute and chronic illnesses, exposed to different chemicals in the environment, or impacted by a public health emergency.
  • better understand the factors that influence environmental exposures and human health across the United States.
  • assess the magnitude of county-level disparities over time.
  • monitor the effects of public health policies aimed at lessening the environmental burden on various populations.
  • make informed decisions about resources needed for public health response or public safety by
    • identifying community-specific threats and hazards, at-risk populations, and community vulnerabilities
    • evaluating possible scenarios based on time, place, and conditions
    • determining potential resource needs and public health actions which could mitigate or prevent illness, injury, and death.

The Tracking Network uses several national sources, including federal agencies, to obtain state and local data about population characteristics. This information is based on populations as a whole, rather than individual members of a particular population. Therefore, individual health risk factors are not included in this information.

The Social Vulnerability Index data included on the Tracking Network come from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).