BRIC Index

Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities (BRIC) for Gulf Coast counties

Synopsis of the BRIC Index

“The BRIC index uses a capitals approach in providing an overall baseline assessment for monitoring existing attributes of resilience to natural hazards. Developed for both county and Census tracts level, BRIC can compare one county or census tract to another, help to understand the specific drivers of resilience for individual counties, and monitor improvements in resilience over time” (

The general methodology of BRIC computation entails a hierarchical model where input variables from open source government sources specifically selected to represent one of the six capitals of community resilience: Social, Economic, Infrastructure/housing, Institutional, Community Capital, and Environmental capitals. Statistical testing to insure internal consistency within each capital, resulted in an overall set of 49 input variables. Due to differing measurement units (percentages, rates) each variable was standardized using linear min-max scaling where X-min/max-min) so the transformed values for each variable range from 0 (low) to 1 (high). Because the variables are scaled to the 196 counties in the Gulf Coast study region, not to all the counties in the U.S., computed scores for the study area do not necessarily match the US BRIC 2015 scores.

For each capital, the variables are averaged (there are unequal numbers of variables in each capital) to produce the capital score for each. The final BRIC scores are a total sum of the six capitals and theoretically range from 0-6 for each county, but in practice the range is narrower.

Raw Input Variables Used to Construct BRIC

Following table summarizes all 49 variables by each of the six capitals, for County level BRIC, with calculation details.

Variable Calculation
Social Resilience
Educational attainment equality Absolute difference between % population over 25 with college education and % population over 25 with less than high school education (Inverted: more equality is more resilient)
Pre-retirement age % Population below 65 years of age
Transportation Access % Households with at least one vehicle
Communication capacity % Households with telephone service available
English language competency % Population proficient English speakers
Non-special needs % Population without sensory, physical, or mental disability
Health insurance % Population under age 65 with health insurance
Mental health support Psychosocial support facilities per 10,000 persons
Food provisioning capacity Food security rate
Physician access Physicians per 10,000 persons
Economic Resilience
Homeownership % Owner-occupied housing units
Employment rate % Labor force employed
Race/ethnicity income equality Gini coefficient (Inverted; more equality is more resilient)
Non-dependence on primary/tourism sectors % Employees not in farming, fishing, forestry, extractive industry, or tourism
Gender income equality Absolute difference between male and female median income (Inverted; more equality is more resilient)
Business size Ratio of large to small businesses
Large retail-regional/national geographic distribution Large retail stores per 10,000 persons
Federal employment % Labor force employed by federal government
Community Capital
Place attachment-not recent immigrants % Population not foreign-born persons who came to US within previous five years
Place attachment-native born residents % Population born in state of current residence
Political engagement % Voting age population participating in recent election
Social capital-religious organizations # affiliated with a religious organization per 10,000 persons
Social capital-civic organizations # civic organizations per 10,000 persons
Social capital-disaster volunteerism # Red Cross volunteers per 10,000 persons
Citizen disaster preparedness and response skills # Red Cross training workshop participants per 10,000 persons
Institutional Resilience
Mitigation spending Ten year average per capita spending for mitigation projects
Flood insurance coverage % Housing units covered by National Flood Insurance Program
Performance regimes-state capital Distance from county seat to state capital (Inverted; closer is more resilient)
Performance regimes-nearest metro area Distance from county seat to nearest county seat within a Metropolitan Statistical Area (Inverted; closer is more resilient)
Political & jurisdictional fragmentation # governments and special districts per 10,000 persons (Inverted; less fragmented is more resilient)
Disaster aid experience # Presidential Disaster Declarations divided by # of loss-causing hazard events for ten year period
Local disaster training % Population in communities covered by Citizen Corps programs
Population stability Population change over previous five year period (Inverted; less change is more resilient)
Nuclear plant accident planning % Population within 10 miles of nuclear power plant
Crop insurance coverage Crop insurance policies per square mile
Housing/Infrastructural Resilience
Sturdier housing types % housing units not mobile homes
Temporary housing availability % vacant housing units that are for rent
Medical care capacity # hospital beds per 10,000 persons
Evacuation routes Major road egress points per 10,000 persons
Housing stock construction quality % housing units built prior to 1970 or after 2000
Temporary shelter availability # hotels/motels per 10,000 persons
School restoration potential # public schools per 10,000 persons
Industrial re-supply potential Rail miles per square mile
High speed internet infrastructure % Population with access to broadband internet service
Environmental Resilience
Local food suppliers Farms marketing products through Community Supported Agriculture per 10,000 persons
Natural flood buffers % Land in wetlands
Efficient energy use Megawatt hours per energy consumer (Inverted; more efficient is more resilient)
Pervious surfaces Average percent perviousness
Efficient water use Water Supply Stress Index (Inverted; more efficient is more resilient)