Sources and Notes
The RCI includes 361 U.S. metropolitan areas, using boundaries defined in December 2009 by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Five metropolitan areas are not included in the RCI due to the lack of available data for all RCI indicators. These are Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL; Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ; Manhattan, KS; Mankato-North Mankato, MN; and Palm Coast, FL.
With the exception of the RCI by Metro page, on which the full metropolitan area name is displayed, tables and rankings pages on this site conserve space by displaying only a short-hand version of the metropolitan area name.
RegionThe RCI classifies metropolitan areas into one of four geographic regions—North, Midwest, South and West according to U.S. Census Bureau divisions. Cross-region metropolitan areas are classified into a region based on the state of the first-listed city in the metropolitan area name. For example, the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH metropolitan area is classified in the South region based on the Census Bureau’s categorization of West Virginia in the South. If this metropolitan area were instead named Marietta-Parkersburg-Vienna, OH-WV metropolitan area, it would be classified in the Northeast, given Ohio’s classification by the Census Bureau in that region.
Population Size ClassThe RCI classifies metropolitan regions into three categories based on 2009 total population. Small metropolitan areas have populations of up to 250,000. Medium metropolitan regions have populations between 250,000 and 999,999. Large metropolitan areas are those of 1 million people or more.
Income equality is a measure of the distribution of economic resources, as measured by income, across a population. It is typically measured by a Gini coefficient, a statistic denoting the degree to which a population differs from perfect income equality, defined as all persons or households having the same income.
As hypothesized by Cutter et al. (2010), the more equal a region’s distribution of economic resources, the more cohesive the response to disturbance, an element of resilience (Susan Cutter, Christopher G. Burton, and Christopher T. Emrich. 2010. “Disaster Resilience Indicators for Benchmarking Baseline Conditions,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 7, no.1: 1-22).
Income equality in the RCI is based on the metropolitan area Gini coefficient for income inequality calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau for metropolitan areas in 2009. So that high values signify high equality and high resilience, the RCI indicator is calculated as the inverse of the Gini coefficient for income inequality. Data are from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B19083 (Gini coefficient for income inequality).
Economic diversification assesses the degree to which economic activity, typically measured by jobs or GDP, is spread across industrial sectors of an economy. Economies with a disproportionately high concentration of economic activity in one or a few industrial sectors are less diversified than economies with relatively little concentration of economic activity compared to a broad benchmark economy such as the United States.
Researchers hypothesize that economic diversification increases resilience by reducing economic risk. As noted by Ramachran (2005), although economies specialized in a single or limited few industrial sectors are expected to fare well when its sectors are economically robust, specialized economies are vulnerable to downturns in their predominant industries (Rodney Ramcharan. 2005. “How Big Are the Benefits of Economic Diversification? Evidence from Earthquakes,” International Monetary Fund Working Paper 05/48). The more diversified a region’s economy, the more constituted it is hypothesized to be to weather economic cycles, and thus to be more resilient.
Economic diversification in the RCI measures the degree to which a metropolitan economy differs from the national economy by the proportion of its jobs in goods-producing, service-producing, and government sectors. So that a high value signifies greater diversification, the indicator is calculated as the inverse of the sum of differences (that is, 1- sum of differences) between the metropolitan area economy and the U.S. economy for the three sectors. A region that exactly mirrors the national economy will have a sum of differences of 0—no difference in percentage of goods-producing, service-producing and government jobs relative to the U.S. economy—and thus an RCI economic diversification score of 1.
Data for the RCI indicator are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 2009. For metropolitan areas without 2009 QCEW data, the RCI indicator uses comparable data for a previous year. Data substitutions occurred for three metropolitan areas: Amarillo, TX (data for 2008), Hartford, CT (data for 2001) and Parkersburg, WV (data for 2001).
Regional affordability is a measure of economic security gauged by the percentage of a metropolitan area’s households paying less than 35 percent of their income on housing. Households spending more than 35 percent of their income on housing, a high benchmark for economic affordability, have proportionately fewer resources for other investments.
Pendall, Theodos and Franks (2011) hypothesize a link between a household’s level of precariousness, measured in part by its housing cost burden, and resilience (Rolf Pendall, Brett Theodos and Kaitlin Franks, 2011, “Vulnerable People, Precarious Housing, and Regional Resilience: An Exploratory Analysis,” Building Resilient Regions Working Paper 2011-02). When housing takes a proportionately large bite from a household’s income, the household has less flexibility for alternative investments in times of crisis.
The RCI assesses Regional Affordability using the metropolitan area as the unit of analysis. It measures the percentage of households in the metropolitan area spending less than 35 percent of their income on housing, accounting for both owners (mortgage costs) and renters (monthly rent costs). Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, tables B25070 (gross rent as percentage of income) and B25091 (monthly owner costs as percentage of income).
Business environment captures an array of conditions influencing the dynamism of a regional economy. The more dynamic the economy, the more adaptable and resourceful, and thus more resilient, it may be in times of stress.
As formulated and measured by the Indiana Business Center (2010) for its Innovation Index, an economically dynamic region is one with a proportionately high level of small businesses, high levels of business churn (starts and stops), residential high-speed Internet connections, change in the number of broadband holding companies, and ample venture capital (Indiana Business Center, http://www.statsamerica.org/innovation/) .
The RCI Business Environment indicator is the “Economic Dynamics” sub-component of the Indiana Business Center’s Innovation Index. Formulated as an index, it is a single number capturing the range of business conditions at the metropolitan region scale.
Educational attainment is a widely used measure of socio-economic capacity for persons age 25 and older. As hypothesized by Norris et al. (2008), effective individual and collective response to a stress is enhanced by a set of social capacities including literacy and education (Fran H. Norris and others. 2008. “Community Resilience as a Metaphor, Theory, Set of Capacities, and Strategy for Disaster Readiness.” American Journal of Community Psychology 41, nos. 1-2: 127–150).
The RCI measures Educational Attainment at the metropolitan area scale using a calculation of the percentage of the population age 25+ with a bachelor’s degree or higher divided by the percentage of the population age 25+ without a high school diploma or GED.
Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, table B15003 (educational attainment). Due to data unavailability, the RCI uses 2008 figures for the Hinesville-Fort Stewart, GA metropolitan area.
By reducing adaptability and options, having a sensory, mobility, self-care, or cognitive disability increases the challenge of responding effectively to stresses and strains. As Morrow puts it, “effective response to a crisis requires being of sound body and mind” (Betty Hearn Morrow. 2008. Community Resilience: A Social Justice Perspective. Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) Research Report 4, p. 9). Disabilities, which often associated with age, constitute a social risk factor, making regions with higher proportions of persons with a disability more vulnerable to physical, social and economic challenges.
So that high scores translate to higher resilience, the RCI measures the inverse of disability, that is, Without Disability. It is calculated as the percentage of a metropolitan area’s civilian non-institutionalized population that report no sensory, mobility, self-care or cognitive disabilities. Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, table B18101 (disability status).
Out of Poverty
Poverty status is a widely used measure of socio-economic vulnerability. A proxy for a host of challenges, poverty links to resilience as a measure of constraint on the resources and options a person, household or region has to effectively mitigate, respond to, and recover from a crisis (Betty Hearn Morrow. 2008. Community Resilience: A Social Justice Perspective. Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) Research Report 4).
So that high scores translate to higher resilience, the RCI measures the inverse of poverty, that is, Out of Poverty. Measured at the metropolitan area scale, the indicator captures the percentage of the population with income in the past 12 months above the federally defined poverty line. Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, table B17001 (poverty status in the past 12 months) from which the inverse measure is calculated.
Having health insurance provides a foundation for social, physical and economic security. As hypothesized by Cutter and others (2010), health insurance coverage in a crisis is both a proxy for the general capacities useful for effectively responding to and recovering from a stress, and also a particular capacity to address specific results of that crisis (Susan Cutter, Christopher G. Burton, and Christopher T. Emrich. 2010. “Disaster Resilience Indicators for Benchmarking Baseline Conditions,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 7, no.1: 1-22).
The RCI measures Health-Insured as the percentage of the metropolitan area’s civilian non-institutionalized population that report having health insurance coverage, including both public and private insurers. Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, table B27001 (health insurance coverage status).
A region’s civic infrastructure, as measured by the density of civic organizations, offers a proxy indicator for community engagement. As implied by the Heinz Center (2002), a community network not only offers a channel for assistance and support in time of crisis, it may also provide the civic means through which residents understand, invest in and take care of their community, efforts that promote regional resilience (Heinz Center. 2002. Human Links to Coastal Disasters. Washington D.C.: The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment).
The RCI uses the number of civic organizations per 10,000 people in a metropolitan area to capture the concept of Civic Infrastructure. Organizational counts come from the 2008 County Business Patterns, 3-digit NAICS code 813 (“religious, grant-making, civic, professional, and similar organizations”), from which the indicator includes voluntary health organizations, social advocacy organizations, social organizations, business associations and professional organizations, labor unions and political groups. It excludes religious organizations (NAICS code 8131) and grant-making organizations (NAICS code 8132).
Metropolitan Stability is a measure of rootedness in place. It rests in the logic that newcomers to an area may be less familiar with a community than are people who have lived in the area for some time. As Cutter and others (2010) hypothesize, resilience to a challenge or crisis stems in part from familiarity with place, not only for navigating the community during an acute crisis, but also accessing services and other supports for economic or social challenges (Susan Cutter, Christopher G. Burton, and Christopher T. Emrich. 2010. “Disaster Resilience Indicators for Benchmarking Baseline Conditions,” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 7, no.1: 1-22).
The RCI indicator for Metropolitan Stability is the annual average percentage over a five-year period of a metropolitan area population that lived within the same metropolitan area a year prior. It is calculated as the sum of persons who lived in the same house a year ago and those who lived in a different house in the same metropolitan area a year ago, divided by the population one year and older. Data come from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, table C07201 (geographical mobility in the past year).
Homeownership is a measure of place attachment and commitment. Pendall, Theodos and Franks (2010) argue that, because rental status associates with greater housing vulnerability and less attachment to place, homeownership status is a more likely marker for regional resilience (Rolf Pendall, Brett Theodos and Kaitlin Franks, 2011, “Vulnerable People, Precarious Housing, and Regional Resilience: An Exploratory Analysis,” Building Resilient Regions Working Paper 2011-02).
The RCI indicator for Homeownership is the number of owner-occupied housing units as a percentage of total occupied housing units in a metropolitan area. Data come from the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, table B25003 (tenure).
Voter participation is a measure of civic engagement, demonstrated by a commitment to influence outcomes through votes. As a signal of trust in the potency of democratic process, voter participation is a proxy for the community engagement considered an element of “essential resilience” (Betty Hearn Morrow. 2008. Community Resilience: A Social Justice Perspective. Community and Regional Resilience Initiative (CARRI) Research Report 4, p. 12). Regions with high levels of voter participation demonstrate a greater capacity for resilience.
The RCI uses voter turnout data from the 2008 general election to gauge Voter Participation. The measure is the number of voters participating in the 2008 general election as a percentage of population age 18 and over in the metropolitan area. Voting data come from Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections at http://www.uselectionatlas.org/.