Social Vulnerability Index Research Project

Project summary:
TWDB and other agencies in Texas utilize Social Vulnerability Indices (SVIs) for a variety of floodplain management purposes including, but not limited to, flood planning and flood mitigation funding. There are two widely available sources of SVIs: 1) the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) from the Hazards and Vulnerability Institute at the University of South Carolina and the 2) the SVI created by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control. Both are primarily used at the census tract scale and are developed across the spatial scope of the US. SoVI and SVI are agnostic to the type of hazard for which social vulnerability is being modeled. Although existing SVIs have a wide range of applicable uses, they are neither customized for flood hazard, nor for Texas.

The purpose of this project is to develop a flood-specific SVI (F-SVI) for Texas that considers and utilizes parameters applicable and relevant to flooding. An F-SVI can be used to guide prioritization for flood planning and flood mitigation funding efforts.
Project deliverable(s):
Texas-focused flood social vulnerability index (F-SVI), including sensitivity analysis of the index to quantify robustness and map tools to visualize the F-SVI data, and a report describing the SVI literature review and the development of the index.
Contractor (and Principal Investigator, if appropriate):
Research team: The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Patrick Bixler (LBJ School of Public Affairs) and Dr. Paola Passalacqua (Cockrell School of Engineering)
Contract amount:
Approximately $135,000
Project lead:
Reem Zoun, PE, CFM and Megan Ingram
Project timeline:
November 2022 - April 2024

Request for feedback on mid-point report for the development of Texas Flood Social Vulnerability Index (TX-F-SVI)

TWDB is seeking public feedback on mid-point report for the development of Texas Flood Social Vulnerability Index (TX-F-SVI). This report includes project background information, an executive summary of findings based on completion of Task 1: Literature Review and part of Task 2: Expert Interviews, and more detailed memos associated with the completed work. The report includes a collection of potential variables identified through the literature review and expert interviews which will be considered and refined in the upcoming Task 3: Sensitivity Analysis.

In your feedback, please make recommendations to help the research team capture other variables related to understanding and explaining social vulnerability with respect to flooding in Texas.

Following the public feedback period, the research team will begin constructing a base case model of the Texas Flood-Social Vulnerability Index. The research team will decide on the inclusion and weighting of factors based on the findings from the literature review, interviews, and public comments. This base case will inform the sensitivity analysis and final index development.

Please submit comments by 9/28/2023 via email to and include “TX F-SVI” in the subject line.