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Spatial analysis of heat-related mortality among the elderly between 1993 and 2004 in Sydney, Australia


  • Vaneckova, Pavla
  • Beggs, Paul J.
  • Jacobson, Carol R.


This study analyzed the geographical patterns of heat-related mortality among the population aged 65Â and over within the metropolitan area of Sydney, Australia between 1993 and 2004, and evaluated the role of some physical and socio-demographic risk factors associated with it. The effect of temperature on all-cause mortality during unusually hot days was investigated using spatial analytic techniques, such as cluster analysis and spatial regression analysis. Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) were used to investigate the role of daily average temperature, ozone (O3) and particulate matter of diameter less than 10Â [mu]m (PM10) at the regions that showed a significant increase in mortality on unusually hot days. Spatial variation in mortality on unusually hot days was observed among the population 65 and over. Elderly people living within 5-20Â km south-west and west of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) were found to be more vulnerable. However, analysis using GLMs showed temperature to be a significant modifier of daily mortality in the region to the south-west of the CBD only. O3 and PM10 were found to be non-significant factors in the regions where air pollutants were studied. Socio-economic status and the proportion of vegetation or developed land in each Statistical Local Area (SLA) were also not a significant factor explaining the increased mortality. A combination of social and environmental factors may be at play. Our results suggest an effect of temperature on mortality of the elderly population in Sydney Statistical Division at the SLA level. More spatially-based research would be beneficial once climate datasets with improved spatial coverage become available.

Suggested Citation

  • Vaneckova, Pavla & Beggs, Paul J. & Jacobson, Carol R., 2010. "Spatial analysis of heat-related mortality among the elderly between 1993 and 2004 in Sydney, Australia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 293-304, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:70:y:2010:i:2:p:293-304

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smoyer, Karen E., 1998. "Putting risk in its place: methodological considerations for investigating extreme event health risk," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(11), pages 1809-1824, December.
    2. Harlan, Sharon L. & Brazel, Anthony J. & Prashad, Lela & Stefanov, William L. & Larsen, Larissa, 2006. "Neighborhood microclimates and vulnerability to heat stress," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 2847-2863, December.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:5:759-764_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Green, Chris & Hoppa, Robert D. & Young, T. Kue & Blanchard, J. F., 2003. "Geographic analysis of diabetes prevalence in an urban area," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 551-560, August.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:9:1518-1520_1 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Karlsson, Martin & Schmitt, Maike, 2011. "Only in the heat of the moment? A study of the relationship between weather and mortality in Germany," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 203, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
    2. M. Karlsson & M. Schmitt, 2011. "Only in the Heat of the Moment? A Study of the Relation between Weather and Mortality in Germany," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 11/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. David Hondula & Robert Davis, 2014. "The predictability of high-risk zones for heat-related mortality in seven US cities," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 74(2), pages 771-788, November.


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