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Government officials, health professionals, and other decision makers are tasked with characterizing vulnerability and understanding how populations experience risks associated with exposure to climate-related hazards. Spatial analyses of vulnerable locations have given rise to climate change vulnerability mapping. While not a new concept, the spatial analyses of specific health outcomes remain limited. This review explores different methodologies and data that are used to assess vulnerability and map population health impacts to climate hazards. The review retrieved scholarly articles and governmental reports concerning vulnerability mapping of human health to the impacts of climate change in the United States, published in the last decade. After review, 37 studies were selected for inclusion. Climate-related exposures were distributed across four main categories, including: high ambient temperatures; flood hazards; vector-borne diseases; and wildfires. A number of different methodologies and measures were used to assess health vulnerability to climate-related hazards, including heat vulnerability indices and regression analyses. Vulnerability maps should exemplify how variables measuring the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of different populations help to determine the potential for climate-related hazards to have an effect on human health. Recommendations address methodologies, data gaps, and communication to assist researchers and stakeholders in directing adaptations to their most efficient and effective use.


This article was originally published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, available at doi:10.3390/ijerph16173091.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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