COVID-19 Insights: UIC School of Public Health's Social Vulnerability Index

Using the Social Vulnerability Index as a Baseline, UIC School of Public Health Dives Deeper.

UIC logo

By Sage Kim, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Health Policy and Administration

Social Vulnerability Index

To take a closer look at the impact of COVID-19, we created a unique social vulnerability index or SVI using socio-demographic characteristics of the City of Chicago’s 77 community areas, to quantify the level of social vulnerability.

This social vulnerability analysis starts with indicator variables from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS) 5 year estimates between 2014-2018, including: percent poverty, percent of less than High School education, percent of female headed households with children, median household income, and employment ratio (United States Census Bureau, 2020).

To derive a composite score for the SVI, we performed principal component analysis or PCA examining the percent of African Americans, percent of Whites, and percent of Latinx separately to estimate independent effects of race/ethnicity.

This interactive map allows you to hover over a place to see the SVI for Chicago Community Areas.

This interactive map allows you to hover over a place to see the SVI for Illinois zip codes.

This interactive map allows you to hover over a county in Illinois to see the SVI.

About the Author

Sage Kim, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health. The School of Public Health is at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 in Chicago and the State of Illinois, with a particular focus on the needs of vulnerable populations during the pandemic. With a mission to strengthen health equity and social justice, the School's focus ranges from local neighborhoods across Chicago to Illinois towns to communities around the globe. Learn more at

Contact the author