Health, Climate, & Location

Vulnerability to Flooding

This map shows which counties in Illinois are at risk for health problems during a flood. The map was created by looking at each county’s vulnerability in three ways. First, we looked at how many Federal disaster declarations for flooding there were in each county between 1981-2013. Second, we looked at how many nursing homes there are for each 10,000 people in the county. The reason we looked at nursing homes was because a lot of the people who died from Hurricane Katrina were residents of nursing homes. Nursing home residents were so vulnerable during Hurricane Katrina because many are older adults who might have chronic health problems, disabilities, or conditions that require extra help to leave an unsafe area. Third, we looked at counties that are most vulnerable according to the SVI. By putting together information about each of these three pieces of information for each county, we were able to say whether counties were at greatest risk, somewhat lower risk, lower risk, or lowest risk. The counties in Illinois that are dark red are most at risk to health problems from flooding and the counties in dark blue are least at risk to flooding events.

SVI_Nursing_Flood (1)
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Vulnerability to Ozone Effects on Asthma

Ozone is an air pollutant that is formed in the summer (when temperatures are high). As the climate of Illinois gets warmer, we expect ozone levels to go up. Ozone can trigger asthma attacks, which can lead to the need for emergency treatment at a hospital or emergency room. In severe cases, it can cause death.   This map shows which counties are at risk to asthma problems as the climate warms. Like the flood map, it takes into account three kinds of information. First, we looked at which counties in Illinois currently have high ozone levels (“EPA non-attainment” counties). Second, we looked at which counties have highest rates of death due to asthma. Third, we looked at which counties are most vulnerable based on the SVI.   By using all three of these pieces of information, we found different levels of risk among counties. The counties in Illinois that are dark red are most at risk to poor air quality and the counties in dark blue are least at risk to poor air quality.

SVI_Asthma_Ozone (1)
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