Poor and Minority Communities Suffer More from Extreme Heat in U.S. Cities

Poor and Minority Communities Suffer More from Extreme Heat in U.S. Cities Poor and Minority Communities Suffer More from Extreme Heat in U.S. Cities

August 3, 20212 min read

Low-income neighborhoods and communities with higher Black, Hispanic and Asian populations experience significantly more urban heat than wealthier and predominantly white neighborhoods within a vast majority of populous U.S. counties, according to new research from the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Given the recent heat waves blanketing the country, this research has been getting attention from media from across the country as journalists are deepening their coverage and trying to explain to the public how climate change is impacting almost every aspect of American life and society.

The study is the latest to show how climate change driven by human activity disproportionately harms people of color and those who are poor. The warming climate is making heat waves more frequent and intense. And even without heat waves, Americans can expect far more days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit than a few decades ago.
The researchers — Susanne Benz and Jennifer Burney from the University of California, San Diego — found that in 76% of the counties they studied, lower income people experienced higher temperatures than those with higher incomes. When looking at neighborhoods by race, 71% of counties showed that people of color lived in neighborhoods with higher temperatures compared with white people. July 14 – NPR

Coverage also highlighted how extreme heat can take a toll on health, especially for children, seniors and pregnant women.

"The distribution of excess urban heat varies within cities, and as a result, communities do not share a city's extreme heat burden equally," said study co-author Jennifer Burney. She's chair of global climate policy and research at the University of California, San Diego.

Prior research has linked extreme heat to a range of problems, including premature birth, increased risk of heat stroke among children and the elderly, lower test scores and decreased productivity. July 15 – Consumer Health News

Climate change and extreme heat are serious issues and if you are a reporter looking to learn more about this topic and the happening research at UC San Diego - then let us help.

Jennifer Burney is an environmental scientist at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. She is available to speak with media on the impacts that climate change and air pollution have on human health as well as their impacts to crops and food production– simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.

Connect with:
  • Jennifer Burney
    Jennifer Burney Associate Professor of Environmental Science

    Jennifer Burney's research focuses on simultaneously achieving global food security and mitigating climate change.

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