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A Resilient World? Understanding vulnerability in a changing climate

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A photograph of a submerged house in Philippines, the flood water has almost complete submerged the building.

Communities across the world are feeling the impact of both human-made and natural hazards, including severe weather and its link with climate change.

A Resilient World? Understanding vulnerability in a changing climate is the second report about the 2021 World Risk Poll findings.

Revealing how people worldwide feel their country’s infrastructure and government can cope in the face of disasters, the report provides global insights into how prepared and resilient individuals believe their communities, countries, and institutions are in dealing with hazards. The findings can be used by governments, development agencies, businesses, and researchers to help them identify vulnerabilities and take action to make people safer. 

An introduction to the report

Experts from Resilience Rising and Lloyd's Register Foundation discuss the report's findings.

Key findings

  • A quarter (27%) of the world’s population has experienced some type of disaster in the past five years. These are most commonly caused by flooding or heavy rains, experienced by one in 10 people (10%) worldwide.
  • Many counties and regions with high disaster experience are also those with low resilience, highlighting areas of vulnerability that must be urgently addressed. On average, countries where people are more likely to have experienced disasters score lower on the World Risk Poll Resilience Index.
  • However, there are many different aspects to resilience, and countries and regions that are not resilient in some ways are often resilient in others. For instance, community support is higher in low-income countries, where more than a third of people (35%) say their neighbours care about them ‘a lot’, compared with only one in five (20%) in high-income countries.
  • Financial security is one of the greatest areas of vulnerability, with more than a third (34%) of people globally saying they could only cover their basic needs for less than a month if they lost all their income. This includes more than one in 10 (12%) who say they could only do so for less than a week.


A photograph from New Delhi, India in 2021. A man in a white turban can be seen donating wheat flour to young girls in a slum.

Community support is higher in low-income countries

The Poll revealed that more than a third (35%) of people in low-income countries say their neighbours care about them ‘a lot’, compared with only one in five (20%) in high-income countries.

A Resilient World?

The 2021 World Risk Poll Resilience Index

The data visualisation shows the relative resilience scores of every country on the 2021 Index, sub-divided by their scores on its four dimensions - individual, household, community, and societal resilience. The bigger the bar or segment, the greater the resilience score. Countries are ordered from most to least resilient.

Use your cursor to hover over each data segment for more information. We recommend using a desktop or laptop device for the best user experience.


Expert Comment

A banner image of Rhea Katsanakis, the article's author.

How does disaster experience correlate with resilience?

Rhea Katsanakis from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction discusses how disaster experience correlates with resilience, and why organisations need to design systems to help communities better understand risk and build resilience.

Climate & resilience