Populations Vulnerable to Climate Change

vulnerable populations

Climate change will affect everyone, but certain people and certain places will be affected more than others:

  • Some people are more exposed to climate-related health impacts, such as extreme heat, flooding from extreme weather events, and tickborne diseases. These include outdoor workers and hobbyists, homeless people, people living in flood plains, or people living on upper stories of buildings in urban areas (which can be especially hot in summer).
  • Others may have health vulnerabilities due to age (the elderly, babies, and children), having a chronic or pre-existing medical condition, or being on certain medications.
  • Even people in good current health but lacking economic, social, or political resources may have less ability than others to reduce their risks, prevent impacts from occurring, and recover from impacts when they occur.

It is critical to identify individuals and communities that may be particularly vulnerable to climate-related health impacts, and to take actions to ensure that they do not suffer disproportionately from climate impacts. For example, a home-bound elderly person living alone may be especially vulnerable during a heat wave or extreme weather event. Learn more about climate change's impacts on health.

learn more about how to identify and address vulnerabilities

Resource Description
Vermont Heat Vulnerability Index Mapping Tool The Vermont Heat Vulnerability Index draws together 17 different measures of vulnerability in six different themes: population, socioeconomic, health, environmental, climate, and heat illness. These measures are combined to measure the overall vulnerability of Vermont towns to heat-related events.
Vermont Social Vulnerability Index Mapping Tool This is a planning tool to evaluate the relative social vulnerability across the state. It can be used if there is a disease outbreak or in the event of an emergency—either natural or human-caused—to identify populations that may need more help.
Flood Ready Vermont: Assess Your Community’s Risk  Flood Ready Vermont is a great resource for communities and community organizations to better understand flood hazards in their area and use mapping tools to help identify areas of flood risk.
Climate Change, Health, and Populations of Concern Communication materials from the Environmental Protection Agency that summarize key points from the U.S. Climate and Health Assessment for eight different populations that are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts.
Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Guide for Health Departments This guide uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to help health departments prepare for and respond to climate change.
Climate Change, Health, and Equity: Opportunities for Action This report from the Public Health Institute explores the many ways in which climate change, health, and equity are connected.
Heat Vulnerability in Vermont This report provides a description of and rationale for the methods used to produce the Vermont Heat Vulnerability Index.
Vermont Heat Vulnerability Index Summary This is a two-page summary description of the Vermont Heat Vulnerability Index.
Vermont Social Vulnerability Index Summary This is a two-page summary description of the Vermont Social Vulnerability Index.
Vermont Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae Tracker) The Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) Tracker allows the public to check recent cyanobacteria bloom status at shoreline sites and recreational swimming areas of Lake Champlain and various inland lakes in Vermont.