Within minutes of a significant earthquake anywhere on the globe, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system assesses its potential societal impact. PAGER automatically estimates the number of people exposed to severe ground shaking and the shaking intensity at affected cities. Accompanying maps of the epicentral region show the population distribution and estimated ground-shaking intensity. A regionally specific comment describes the inferred vulnerability of the regional building inventory and, when available, lists recent nearby earthquakes and their effects. PAGER's results are posted on the USGS Earthquake Program Web site (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/), consolidated in a concise one-page report, and sent in near real-time to emergency responders, government agencies, and the media. Both rapid and accurate results are obtained through manual and automatic updates of PAGER's content in the hours following significant earthquakes. These updates incorporate the most recent estimates of earthquake location, magnitude, faulting geometry, and first-hand accounts of shaking. PAGER relies on a rich set of earthquake analysis and assessment tools operated by the USGS and contributing Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) regional networks. A focused research effort is underway to extend PAGER's near real-time capabilities beyond population exposure to quantitative estimates of fatalities, injuries, and displaced population.