Heatwave events and mortality outcomes in memphis, tennessee: Testing effect modification by socioeconomic status and urbanicity


Heatwave studies typically estimate heat-related mortality and morbidity risks at the city level; few have addressed the heterogeneous risks by socioeconomic status (SES) and location within a city. This study aimed to examine the impacts of heatwaves on mortality outcomes in Memphis, Tennessee, a Mid-South metropolitan area top-ranked in morbidity and poverty rates, and to investigate the effects of SES and urbanicity. Mortality data were retrieved from the death records in 2008–2017, and temperature data from the Applied Climate Information System. Heatwave days were defined based on four temperature metrics. Heatwave effects on daily total-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality were evaluated using Poisson regression, accounting for temporal trends, sociodemographic factors, urbanicity, and air pollution. We found higher cardiovascular mortality risk (cumulative RR (relative risk) = 1.25, 95% CI (confidence interval): 1.01–1.55) in heatwave days defined as those with maximum daily temperature >95th percentile for more than two consecutive days. The effects of heatwaves on mortality did not differ by SES, race, or urbanicity. The findings of this study provided evidence to support future heatwave planning and studies of heatwave and health impacts at a coarser geographic resolution.

Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health