Resilience scores show Wisconsin better able to withstand disaster, but some communities more vulnerable

Resilience scores show Wisconsin better able to withstand disaster, but some communities more vulnerable

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Wisconsin residents overall are more able to withstand a disaster than most U.S. states, though some communities are at far greater risk than others, according to new community resilience statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Community resilience is a measure of how well individuals and households can endure and recover from health, social and economic impacts of a disaster, such as a flood or a pandemic.

The agency said it has developed the localized community resilience estimates to identify those areas where resources and information might be most needed to mitigate the impact of a disaster.

Using information from its ongoing national survey combined with publicly-available data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey, the agency created county and neighborhood-level estimates to assess 11 different risk factors that could affect peoples’ capacity to overcome obstacles.

Communities were scored based on the percentage of residents with no risks, one or two, and three or more.

Risk factors include poverty, lack of health insurance, disability, unemployment and crowded living conditions as well as age and diseases like diabetes, asthma or emphysema and serious heart conditions.

One-third of Milwaukee County residents have at least three risk factors, the highest percentage in Wisconsin. Two rural counties, Adams (31%) and Iron (30%) were close behind. St. Croix County (14.2%) had the lowest percentage of residents with multiple risk factors.

Statewide, about 23% of the population had at least three risk factors, compared to 26.5% nationally.

Dane County (20.5%) ranked 20th out of 72 counties.

Neighborhood-level scores ranged from 6% in the area between McKee and Valley View Road on Madison’s Far West Side to more than 64% in one Milwaukee neighborhood.


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