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The Impact of Homelessness in Social Vulnerability Assessment: A Case Study of Austin, Texas

1Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, USA

2Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, Nigeria

Social and Economic Geography. 2021, Vol. 6 No. 1, 1-12
DOI: 10.12691/seg-6-1-1
Copyright © 2020 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
M. K. Lasode, T. E. Chow, R. R. Hagelman, R. D. Blanchard, O. O. Lasode, A. E. Iyanda. The Impact of Homelessness in Social Vulnerability Assessment: A Case Study of Austin, Texas. Social and Economic Geography. 2021; 6(1):1-12. doi: 10.12691/seg-6-1-1.

Correspondence to: M.  K. Lasode, Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, USA. Email:


Among existing research on social vulnerability, virtually no studies have considered homelessness as a variable in their vulnerability assessments. This study identified the relevance of homelessness as a key index in social vulnerability assessment to inform the public, policymakers and the broader body of literature of its impacts on shaping vulnerability patterns in cities. In this study, the 2018 Homeless data for Austin was disaggregated from the council district level to block group level using dasymetric mapping in Geographic Information System (GIS). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to group highly correlated demographic and socioeconomic variables into factors, which were normalized and summed to model social vulnerability with homeless index (SOVI_H) and without homeless index (SOVI) for each Austin Blockgroup. The result revealed significant differences in geographic patterns between SOVI_H and SOVI. SOVI_H showed hotspots of vulnerabilities in Downtown and East-Austin neighborhoods, depicting a slight shift of social vulnerability westwards of the city. This finding differs from past results of social vulnerabilities in Austin where it used to be predominant in the East. This study showed that incorporating homelessness in identifying social vulnerability can help researchers and other associated organizations identify the most vulnerable groups when conducting social vulnerability assessments.