Heat vulnerability index mapping for Milwaukee and Wisconsin

Megan Christenson, Sarah Dee Geiger, Jeffrey Phillips, Ben Anderson, Giovanna Losurdo, Henry A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Extreme heat waves elevate the population's risk for heat-related morbidity and mortality, specifically for vulnerable groups such as older adults and young children. In this context, we developed 2 Heat Vulnerability Indices (HVIs), one for the state of Wisconsin and one for the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Objective: Through the creation of an HVI, state and local agencies will be able to use the indices as a planning tool for extreme heat events. Design: Data used for the HVIs were grouped into 4 categories: (1) population density; (2) health factors; (3) demographic and socioeconomic factors; and (4) natural and built environment factors. These categories were mapped at the Census block group level. Main Outcome Measures: Unweighted z-score data were used to determine index scores, which were then mapped by quantiles ranging from "high" to "low" vulnerability. Results: Statewide, Menominee County exhibited the highest vulnerability to extreme heat. Milwaukee HVI findings indicated high vulnerability in the city's inner core versus low vulnerability along the lakeshore. Conclusion: Visualization of vulnerability could help local public health agencies prepare for future extreme heat events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-403
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • extreme heat
  • Heat Vulnerability Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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