Headwaters Economics

Neighborhoods at Risk

About Neighborhoods at Risk

A coalition of cities worked with Headwaters Economics to develop Neighborhoods at Risk, a simple and flexible climate risk planning tool.

The free, web-based data and maps can be used for presentations, grant proposals, planning decisions, shaping land use, or prioritizing capital improvements.

Neighborhoods at Risk provides access to up-to-date, practical, neighborhood-level information about at-risk people and their vulnerability to the impacts from climate change. The tool allows you to map neighborhoods using criteria for climate risks and socioeconomic stressors–including age, race, and income–overlaid with factors such as proximity to floodplains and canopy cover.

Neighborhoods at Risk is currently available for 27 cities, with plans for deployment for all U.S. cities.


The tool was made possible by the generous commitment of time and talent from partners in 18 cities and climate scientists at NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCSU/CICS-NC).

Development of Neighborhoods at Risk was supported by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) Innovation Fund and the Tableau Foundation.

City partners who aided in the tool’s design include Ann Arbor, MI; Cleveland, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Cincinnati, OH; Buffalo, NY; Evanston, IL; Dearborn, MI; Youngstown, OH; Detroit, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Milwaukee, WI; Columbia, MO; Springfield, MO; Lancaster, PA; Richmond, VA; City of Gaithersburg, MD; Newark, NJ; and Blacksburg, VA.


Cities, non-profits, and citizen groups are working to protect people and property from the impacts of climate change but often do not have the capacity to wade through reams of data that could support efficient, equitable, long-term solutions. With better access to data to visualize problems and make informed decisions, communities can better adapt to climate change.

Neighborhoods at Risk is web-based, free, and designed to meet multiple local planning needs. The data and maps are useful for prioritizing capital improvements and conducting vulnerability assessments, which can be powerful tools that shape land use, policy, and planning decisions. Applications include FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plans and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting.

Data Sources and Methods

The data presented in Neighborhoods at Risk describe characteristics of potentially vulnerable neighborhoods for census tracts in U.S. cities.

Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, FEMA, Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium, and the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCSU/CICS-NC). This technical document contains detailed methods and data citations.


Detailed reports on at-risk populations are available

Try the companion tool, Populations at Risk, to generate reports about populations more likely to experience adverse social, health, or economic outcomes.

Populations at Risk >>


For economic and demographic reports, try the Economic Profile System (EPS)

The Economic Profile System generates reports on a range of topics including local economics, demographics, and income sources while providing historic context and trends.

Economic Profile System >>