Social Indicator Definitions
Check out indicator definitions to see what the indicators mean.
Viable measures of social well-being and sustainability, including measures of vulnerability and resilience are needed for coastal fishing communities. Although sustainable development indices have been created and implemented at national and regional levels, few are available at the local or community level, and even fewer address the social aspects of U.S. fisheries. We developed a suite of social indicators for use in fisheries social impact assessment. These indices can be used for cross-community and cross-regional comparisons.
Social Vulnerability Indices
The social vulnerability indices represent social factors that can shape either an individual or community’s ability to adapt to change. These factors exist within all communities regardless of the importance of fishing.
- Personal disruption represents factors that disrupt a community member’s ability to respond to change because of personal circumstances affecting family life or educational levels or propensity to be affected by poverty. A high rank indicates more personal disruption and a more vulnerable population.
- Population composition shows the presence of populations who are traditionally considered more vulnerable due to circumstances often associated with low incomes and fewer resources. A high rank indicates a more vulnerable population.
- Poverty is a commonly used indicator of vulnerable populations. A high rank indicates a high rate of poverty and a more vulnerable population.
- Labor force characterizes the strength and stability of the labor force and employment opportunities that may exist. A high rank means likely fewer employment opportunities and a more vulnerable population.
- Housing characteristics is a measure of infrastructure vulnerability and includes factors that indicate housing that may be vulnerable to coastal hazards. A high rank means a more vulnerable infrastructure and a more vulnerable population. On the other hand, the opposite interpretation might be that more affordable housing could be less vulnerability for some populations.
Gentrification Pressure Indices
The gentrification pressure indices characterize those factors that, over time, may indicate a threat to the viability of a commercial or recreational working waterfront, including infrastructure.
- Housing Disruption represents factors that indicate a fluctuating housing market where some displacement may occur due to rising home values and rents. A high rank means more vulnerability for those in need of affordable housing and a population more vulnerable to gentrification.
- Retiree migration characterizes areas with a higher concentration of retirees and elderly people in the population. A high rank indicates a population more vulnerable to gentrification as retirees seek out the amenities of coastal living.
- Urban sprawl describes areas experiencing gentrification through increasing population and higher costs of living. A high rank indicates a population more vulnerable to gentrification.
Fishing Engagement and Reliance Indices
The fishing engagement and reliance indices portray the importance or level of dependence of commercial or recreational fishing to coastal communities.
- Commercial fishing engagement measures the presence of commercial fishing through fishing activity as shown through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings. A high rank indicates more engagement.
- Commercial fishing reliance measures the presence of commercial fishing in relation to the population size of a community through fishing activity. A high rank indicates more reliance.
- Recreational fishing engagement measures the presence of recreational fishing through fishing activity estimates. A high rank indicates more engagement.
- Recreational fishing reliance measures the presence of recreational fishing in relation to the population size of a community. A high rank indicates increased reliance.
Note: Recreational fishing indicators are calculated based on regionally available data so are not comparable on a national basis. See Supporting Information for more detailed discussion of how these indicators differ.
Climate Change Indices
The climate change indices characterize environmental conditions that may affect the sustainability of essential commercial and recreational fishing businesses and infrastructure.
- Sea level rise risk signifies the overall risk of inundation from sea level rise from one foot level to six foot level projections over the next ~90 years. The indicator represents the possibility of inundation based upon the combined projections at each stage of sea level rise and could vary depending upon future circumstances. A high rank indicates a community more vulnerable to sea level rise.
- Storm surge risk refers to the overall risk of flooding from hurricane storm surge categories 1-5. The indicator represents the "worst-case" possibility of inundation based on the combined hurricane storm surge categories and could vary depending on future circumstances. A high rank indicates a community more vulnerable to a particular hurricane storm surge.