Who is most affected by the dangers of high temperatures? Sharon Harlan, a professor of health sciences and sociology at Northeastern and GRI faculty affiliate contributed to an article on this question — a question of increasing interest as global temperatures continue to rise.
Harlan’s research, conducted in Phoenix’s metropolitan area, found that the wealthier a neighborhood was, the cooler its outside temperature. In Phoenix, as average household income went up by $10,000 dollars, the neighborhood’s outside temperature was half a degree lower. According to the research, this could be due in part to more vegetation in wealthier neighborhoods, which can bring down temperatures.
Additionally, more wealth can allow greater ability to cool down at home, with less concern for utility costs.
Harlan says, “people can buy cooler temperatures”. Together, extreme heat and the associated dangers can have a much higher impact on already vulnerable populations.
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