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Vulnerability Assessment Methodologies: A Review of the Literature (2nd Edition)

FHI 360
Whitney Moret
Institutional Sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Publication date: 
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Despite the demand for vulnerability assessment for targeting purposes, there remains no standard definition or method of measuring vulnerability for economic strengthening (ES) interventions in USAID/PEPFAR guidance materials. The purpose of this literature review is to propose a set of guidelines for defining and measuring vulnerability for targeting and program design in ES. These proposed guidelines are based on an overview of the published and grey literature on vulnerability assessment methods related to ES.

The review begins by describing how vulnerability is defined and measured across the hazards, sociology/anthropology, and economics literature. This is followed by a review of the research methods used in the published literature identified through a database search of studies on socioeconomic vulnerability at the household level. The review concludes with a proposed definition of vulnerability for ES and a model for future assessments.