Click on the image for a larger view. A variety of factors can increase the vulnerability of specific demographic groups to health effects due to climate change. For example, older adults are more vulnerable to heat stress because their bodies are less able to regulate their temperature. Overall population growth is projected to continue through at least 2050, with older adults comprising a growing proportion of the population. Similarly, there are an increasing number of people who are obese and/or have diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, which makes them more vulnerable to a range of climate-related health impacts. The poor are less able to afford the kinds of measures that can protect them from and treat them for various health impacts.
Figure source: Data from CDC; Health E-Stat; U.S. Census Bureau 2010, 2012; and Akinbami et al. 2011.