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Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 15, 2023
Social vulnerability refers to how social positions affect the ability to access resources during a disaster or disturbance, but there is limited empirical examination of its spatial patterns in the Great Lakes Basin (GLB) region of North America. In this study, we map four themes of social vulnerability for the GLB by using the Center for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index (CDC SVI) for every county in the basin and compare mean scores for each sub-basin to assess inter-basin differences. Additionally, we map LISA results to identify clusters of high and low social vulnerability along with the outliers across the region. Results show the spatial patterns depend on the social vulnerability theme selected, with some overlapping clusters of high vulnerability existing in Northern and Central Michigan, and clusters of low vulnerability in Eastern Wisconsin along with outliers across the basins. Differences in these patterns also indicate the existence of an urban–rural dimension to the variance in social vulnerabilities measured in this study. Understanding regional patterns of social vulnerability help identify the most vulnerable people, and this paper presents a framework for policymakers and researchers to address the unique social vulnerabilities across heterogeneous regions.more » « less