Temporal evolution in social vulnerability to natural hazards in Chile

Nicolás C. Bronfman, Paula B. Repetto, Nikole Guerrero, Javiera V. Castañeda, Pamela C. Cisternas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the main challenges for studying social vulnerability to natural hazards is to capture their dynamic nature. In this study, we explore the spatial and temporal variations in social vulnerability in Chile for the last two decades. Using data reported in the previous three censuses, we have characterized social vulnerability using the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) for 2,464 districts throughout the country for 1992, 2002, and 2017. We examined spatial variations in social vulnerability through global and local spatial autocorrelation analyses. Our results reveal that social vulnerability in Chile are distributed heterogeneously throughout the territory as a result of the spatial and temporal interaction of different factors that reflect the social and economic contrasts of its communities. In addition, factors that explain higher or lower levels of social vulnerability in one period may persist or reduce its influence over time. Therefore, territories were highly vulnerable at one time to become less so at another. Finally, factors such as disability and immigration emerge as significant elements of social vulnerability at the end of the period under study. We discuss the implications of our findings for those institutions responsible for the development and implementation of disaster risk reduction plans, programs, and policies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNatural Hazards
Early online date10 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2021


  • Natural hazards
  • Social vulnerability
  • SoVI
  • Vulnerability Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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