USA – The National Risk Index is a new, online mapping application from FEMA that identifies communities most at risk to 18 natural hazards. This application visualizes natural hazard risk metrics and includes data about expected annual losses, social vulnerabilities and community resilience.
The National Risk Index’s interactive web maps are at the county and census tract level and made available via geographic information system (GIS) feature services for custom analyses. With this data, you can discover a holistic view of community risk to natural hazards via online maps and data.
NRI Primer: This document summarizes the National Risk Index documentation.
National Risk Index Primer Technical Documentation: This comprehensive report highlights the National Risk Index research and methodologies for developing all components of the tool. The full-report is being finalized to post on this website shortly. A PDF copy can be requested by emailing us.
Questions and Answers
Why do I need another tool to prioritize areas of risk? How is the NRI different?
The NRI is different from other traditional models because it analyzes 18 natural hazard risks, in addition to a community’s social vulnerability, community resilience, and environmental factors, to provide a more holistic view of risk. It is a great alternative for communities that do not have access to mapping services, since it uses authoritative data from a variety of partners.
How were hazards selected for the National Risk Index?
The selection was determined by reviewing 50 state hazard mitigation plans and developing an initial list based on the rate of occurrence in each state plan (profiled by at least 50% of plans) or a regionally significant event, like a hurricane, tsunami or volcano.
How does the NRI align with historic FEMA funding? Have “high-risk areas” traditionally received the most funds for mitigation, public assistance, individual assistance, presidential declaration, preparedness grants, etc.?
Many of these decisions are made at a state level, influenced by funding availability, and have qualifying levels. The community resilience component (BRIC) includes the following information:
Mitigation spending: 10-year average per capita spending for mitigation projects
Flood insurance coverage: Percentage of housing units covered by NFIP policies
Disaster aid experience: The number of presidential disaster declarations divided by the number of loss-causing events
Should I prioritize risk reduction funding directly based on the National Risk Index?
The NRI is intended to inform risk-based decision making while increasing risk awareness. While this tool can be one source of information to support risk reduction investments, other information and tools (e.g., a benefit-cost analysis or local knowledge) should also be considered.
My community had a large-scale event recently but does not show up as “high risk.” Why not?
The NRI identifies a community’s risk to natural hazards. Community risk in the NRI is a combination of several factors, including the expected annual dollar loss related to building value, crop, or population, due to a natural hazard; social vulnerability, which measures how social groups respond to the adverse impacts of natural hazards; and community resilience, which is the community’s ability to recover from a natural disaster.
With these factors, even if a community experiences a large-scale event, its risk may be relatively low overall if it has a highly resilient population, a relatively low overall frequency of hazards, etc.