Start Year: 2017

Populations Vulnerable to Climate Change in New Jersey

While climate change is likely to affect everyone, not all subgroups are equally affected.  Climate change disproportionately affects some populations and communities making them less able to adapt to or recover from climate change impacts. Factors affecting these populations can include having preexisting exposures to multiple risk factors, limited access to healthcare services, limited availability to access information in a person’s native language, and less ability to relocate or rebuild after a disaster. Some communities of color, low-income groups, people with limited English proficiency and certain immigrant groups have factors that increase vulnerability to climate-related health impacts, affecting their ability to respond to climate change.  In partnership with the Rutgers Climate Institute and to support the work of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, EAC joined in an effort to characterize and locate populations vulnerable to climate change in the state of New Jersey. To do so, a quantitative study examined the demographic and locational attributes of socially vulnerable groups and their relation to an environmental hazard associated with a changing climate, using flooding as an example of the potential risks posed to these groups. The analysis was informed by the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) developed by the Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina.  Four factors influencing social vulnerability in New Jersey were considered significant and the focus of the analysis: Race, Family Structure, and Low Socioeconomic Status; Linguistic Isolation, Ethnicity; Age; and Unoccupied Housing.

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Jeanne Herb