Differences in Heat-Related Mortality by Citizenship Status: United States, 2005-2014

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Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether non-US citizens have a higher mortality risk of heat-related deaths than do US citizens.

Methods

We used place of residence reported in mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System from 2005 to 2014 as a proxy for citizenship to examine differences in heat-related deaths between non-US and US citizens. Estimates from the US Census Bureau American Community Survey of self-reported citizenship status and place of birth provided the numbers for the study population. We calculated the standardized mortality ratio and relative risk for heat-related deaths between non-US and US citizens nationally.

Results

Heat-related deaths accounted for 2.23% (n = 999) of deaths among non-US citizens and 0.02% (n = 4196) of deaths among US citizens. The age-adjusted standardized mortality ratio for non-US citizens compared with US citizens was 3.4 (95% confidence ratio [CI] = 3.2, 3.6). This risk was higher for Hispanic non-US citizens (risk ratio [RR] = 3.6; 95% CI = 3.2, 3.9) and non-US citizens aged 18 to 24 years (RR = 20.6; 95% CI = 16.5, 25.7).

Conclusions

We found an increased mortality risk among non-US citizens compared with US citizens for heat-related deaths, especially those younger and of Hispanic ethnicity.

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