Color line, reflected in green: The racial/ethnic distribution of heat risk-related land cover in relation to residential segregation
Methods: Block group-level tree canopy and impervious surface estimates were derived from the 2001 National Land Cover Dataset for densely populated urban areas of the United States and Puerto Rico, and linked to demographic characteristics from the 2000 Census. HRRLC was characterized as living in a block group with no tree canopy and at least half the ground covered by impervious surface (roofs, driveways, sidewalks, roads). Residential segregation was characterized for metropolitan areas in the United States and Puerto Rico using the multigroup dissimilarity index.
Results: After adjusting for ecoregion and precipitation, and holding segregation level constant, non-Hispanic Blacks were 52% more likely (95% confidence interval (CI): 37% to 69%), non-Hispanic Asians 32% more likely (95% CI: 18% to 47%), and Hispanics 21% more likely (95% CI: 8% to 35%) to live in HRRLC conditions compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Within each racial/ethnic group, HRRLC conditions increased with increasing degrees of metropolitan area-level segregation. Further adjustment for home ownership and poverty did not substantially alter these results, but adjustment for population density and metropolitan area population largely explained the segregation effects.
Conclusions: Land cover was strongly associated with segregation within each racial/ethnic group, which may be partially explained by the concentration of racial/ethnic minorities into densely populated neighborhoods within larger, more segregated cities. In anticipation of greater frequency and duration of extreme heat events, climate change adaptation strategies, such as planting trees in urban areas, should explicitly incorporate an environmental justice framework that addresses racial/ethnic disparities in HRRLC.
Learning Areas:Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health
Describe the distribution of heat risk-related land cover characteristics experienced by racial/ethnic groups in metropolitan areas of the United States in relation to residential segregation.
Keyword(s): Social Inequalities
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Professor of Environmental Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.