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Data overview

The social vulnerability indicators for Bolivia are spread over the themes of population, economy, infrastructure, education,and health. The dataset of Bolivia is composed of 68 indicators at level P3 of subnational geographic organization given in 341 subdivisions distributed into parishes known in Bolivia as municipalities. The chart below (figure 1) explains the percentage of variables in the total dataset under each specific main theme.

Figure 1

Indicators are separated into groups (or sub-indices) that share the same dimension (e.g. population, economy, infrastructure, etc.). These individual indicators are aggregated into sub-indices, and the sub-indices are, in turn, aggregated to construct the final composite model. We employed a hierarchical approach so that each subcomponent of social vulnerability could be mapped and analyzed in isolation.

Table 1. Bolivia variables of social vulnerability

ThemeSub-themeVariable
PopulationPopulation StructurePopulation
Population Population StructureMale Population
Population Population StructureNumber of Households
PopulationPopulation StructureTotal Dwellings
PopulationPopulation StructureUrban Dwelling
PopulationPopulation StructureRural Dwelling
PopulationPopulation StructureDwelling Type - House
PopulationPopulation StructureDwelling Type - Apartment Building
PopulationPopulation StructureDwelling Type - Tenement (Inquilinato)
PopulationPopulation StructureDwelling Type - Hut
PopulationPopulation StructureMulti residential building, hotels, hospitals
PopulationPopulation StructureNumber of people per Household
PopulationPopulation StructurePopulation Density (inhabitants/km2)
PopulationPopulation StructureDependency Rate
PopulationVulnerable PopulationFemale Population
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation with NO birth certificate
PopulationVulnerable PopulationLabor Force Age 15-64
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation Age 0 -14
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation over 65
PopulationVulnerable PopulationTotal population with a disability
PopulationVulnerable Populationfemale population with a disability
PopulationVulnerable Populationmale population with a disability
PopulationVulnerable PopulationHousehold - Paying monthly rent
PopulationVulnerable PopulationHomeless Population
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation under 5 years old
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation with NO national I.D.
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation speaking a native indigenous language
PopulationVulnerable PopulationNative Indigeneous Population
PopulationVulnerable PopulationAge dependance
PopulationVulnerable PopulationPopulation not in the labor force (Age 0-15 and 65+)
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationHouseholds with NO access to improved water source
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationHouseholds with accessto improved water source
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationHouseholds with access to Electric Energy Public distribution
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationHouseholds with No Electric Energy Access
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationNO Natural Gas public distribution
InfrastructureEnergy, Water and SanitationNatural Gas public distribution to dwelling
InfrastructureTransport and CommunicationTelephone lines
InfrastructureTransport and Communicationhousehold with Computer and Internet
InfrastructureTransport and CommunicationIn Household Computer
InfrastructureTransport and CommunicationHousehold with NO fixed Telephone line
InfrastructureTransport and Communicationhousehold with NO Internet access
InfrastructureTransport and CommunicationHousehols wth Vehicle Automotor
InfrastructureTransport and CommunicationHousehols wth NO Vehicle Automotor
HealthHealthcare resourcesPopulation going to Private Health centers
HealthHealthcare resourcesPopulation going to Public Health centers
HealthHealthcare statusPopulation registered to national healthcare
HealthHealthcare statusPopulation with Private healthcare insurance
HealthHealthcare statusPopulation with no healthcare
EducationEducation OutcomePopulation that does not read and Write (15+ years)
EducationEducation OutcomePopulation Knows how to Read and Write
EducationEducation OutcomeLiteracy Rate
EducationEducation OutcomeEducation Level completed Primary
EducationEducation OutcomeEducation Level Secondary
EducationEducation OutcomeEducation Level Completed (Superior, Technical, University)
EducationEducation OutcomePopulation that does not read and Write (15+ years)
EducationEducation OutcomePopulation with NO formal education
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation employeed in the Manufacturing Industry (15-64)
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation Working
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation Not Working
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation Unoccupied
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation looking for employment
EconomyLabour MarketStudents
EconomyLabour MarketHomemakers
EconomyLabour MarketRetired
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation employed in the Hotels/Restaurant sector
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation employeed in the Manufacturing Industry (15-64)
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation employeed in the Commercial Industry (15-64)
EconomyLabour MarketPopulation employed in the Hotels/Restaurant sector


Final variable selection

A correlation analysis was performed on the above variables (table 1). Highly correlated variables (Spearman’s R>0.700) were eliminated from further consideration to avoid subjectively choosing one variable over another for inclusion in subsequent analyses. The correlation analysis is useful in reducing the data to a set of variables that are parsimonious and acceptable to represent the social vulnerability of the population in Bolivia (table 2).

Table 2. Bolivia final variable selection

ThemeSub-themeVariable
PopulationPopulation structureFemale Population (%)
Populationvulnerable populationPopulation with no birth certificate (%)
Populationvulnerable populationNumber of people per Household
Populationvulnerable populationUrban Dwelling (%)
PopulationPopulation structurepopulation density (people/sqkm)
Populationvulnerable populationPopulation with no national I.D. (%)
Populationvulnerable populationNative Indigeneous Population (%)
Populationvulnerable populationTotal Population with a disability (%)
Populationvulnerable populationHouseholdPaying monthly rent (%)
Populationvulnerable populationAge Dependance (%)
HealthHealthcare statusPopulation with no healthcare (%)
InfrastructureEnergy, water, and sanitationNo Natural Gas public distribution
InfrastructureEnergy, water, and sanitationHouseholds with no access to improved water source (%)
InfrastructureEnergy, water, and sanitationHouseholds with no Electric Energy Access (%)
EconomyLabor marketPopulation working in the manufacturing Industry (15-64) (%)
EconomyLabor marketPopulation working in the Commercial Industry (15-64) (%)
EconomyLabor marketPopulation working in the Hotel/restaurant sector (15-64) (%)
EducationEducation outcomePopulation with no formal education (%)



Social Vulnerability components


The spatial distribution of the social vulnerability across Bolivia explains the socio-economic conditions of the population at subnational level in the country. The following figures provide the social vulnerability subcomponents obtained for Bolivia. The education subcomponent (figure 1A) show high levels of social vulnerability at the subnational parishes surrounding major urban centres, The infrastructure component (figure 1B) refers to the access to basic services .e.g potable water and electricity, the spatial distribution show low levels of social vulnerability in the major cities where the access to basic services is greater than in rural parishes. The five components of social vulnerability (population, economy, education, infrastructure and health) (figure 1C-e) are subsequently summed and normalized to produce the final social vulnerability score. The spatial distribution of Bolivia’s social vulnerability (figure 2A) index shows high levels of vulnerability in the rural areas where the analysis confirms there are higher levels of education deficit, less access to health services, and limited access to basic services.
Figure 1

(A) (B)


(C) (D) (E)



Integrated Risk


The integrated risk for Bolivia is obtained from combining the social vulnerability and the risk average annual losses indexes. High integrated risk can be understood as those subnational areas experiencing high seismicity, high physical earthquake risk, and high levels of social vulnerability. Bolivia’s south western areas are characterized for being in the high seismic risk zones of the country, figure 2A is the spatial distribution of the physical risk which shows high levels of risk towards the Andes mountains; meanwhile, the social vulnerability remains high across the country, especially in the rural parishes (figure 2B). The integrated risk (figure 2C) reveals high levels of risk at both urban and rural areas in the South West part of the country towards the limits with Chile and Peru. The major urban centers La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosi and the surrounding rural areas reveal high levels of risk. The impacts of an earthquake on the population and economy on these zones would have devastating consequences.
Figure 2

(A) (B) (C)


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  • Last modified: 2016/11/07 11:26
  • by Miguel Toquica