Climate Change and Vulnerable Populations

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Research has identified changes in ambient temperature as one of the most direct ways in which climate change will impact mortality and morbidity. Hajat, et al report that existing seasonal variations in heat and cold-related deaths may significantly increase risk across geographies.

The persons at greatest risk are seniors, especially those older than 75 years of age, persons with disabilities or chronic medical conditions and young children, according to the CDC. As the US population ages, prevention and action will become more important.

Increasing temperatures by US County have been reported since 1979. The cumulative analysis score identified those areas with the largest number of high heat index days. The number of seniors living in those counties, along with additional demographic information were identified.

Existing resources for energy efficiency available at energy.gov have useful resources, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov. The HHS LIHEAP program identifies contacts within the States where families can learn about possible heating and cooling assistance programs.

ArcGIS and open data were used to create this interactive web app which may be used by planners, family members and active seniors. As we act as a Nation to address climate change, we can also act to strengthen the infrastructure for prevention and engagement.


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