Natural Hazards

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 397–410 | Cite as

Social vulnerability and seismic risk perception. Case study: the historic center of the Bucharest Municipality/Romania

  • Iuliana Armaş
Original Paper


Social vulnerability is as much a part of risk as building damage, hazard magnitude, and economic loss. Social vulnerability refers to the capacity of a human community exposed during the impact of a natural hazard event (in this case, an earthquake) to resist, cope with, and recover from that impact. In the perspective of the 3rd millennium, we come to understand that the most efficient and accessible way to reduce the pressure of natural risks is to reduce the vulnerability level of the human communities exposed to that certain hazard. This study aims to test, in an exposed and vulnerable area, the relationship between social vulnerability and the perception of the seismic risk. The research focuses only on the first level of social vulnerability, defined as the ability of an individual within a household to recover from a natural hazard impact (Dwyer et al. 2004). A prevailing assumption was that social vulnerability influences the level of perception of the seismic risk, in an exposed, vulnerable area. To this end, two samples were used, different under the aspect of social vulnerability, in the context of the same residential area. Social vulnerability was computed as a normalized composed index that includes the poverty ratio and the demographic vulnerability ratio (depending on the age, gender, and education level indicators). The statistical processing has indicated a significant difference in the high perception level for the two samples that were compared, in the sense that in the context of an increased level of social vulnerability, people generally better acknowledge the seismic risk.


Social vulnerability normalized composed index Seismic risk perception Historic center 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of GeographyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania

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