NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Extreme Weather Events, Mortality and Migration

Olivier Deschenes, Enrico Moretti

NBER Working Paper No. 13227
Issued in July 2007
NBER Program(s):   EEE   HE   LS

We estimate the effect of extreme weather on life expectancy in the US. Using high frequency mortality data, we find that both extreme heat and extreme cold result in immediate increases in mortality. However, the increase in mortality following extreme heat appears entirely driven by temporal displacement, while the increase in mortality following extreme cold is long lasting. The aggregate effect of cold on mortality is quantitatively large. We estimate that the number of annual deaths attributable to cold temperature is 27,940 or 1.3% of total deaths in the US. This effect is even larger in low income areas. Because the U.S. population has been moving from cold Northeastern states to the warmer Southwestern states, our findings have implications for understanding the causes of long-term increases in life expectancy. We calculate that every year, 5,400 deaths are delayed by changes in exposure to cold temperature induced by mobility. These longevity gains associated with long term trends in geographical mobility account for 8%-15% of the total gains in life expectancy experienced by the US population over the past 30 years. Thus mobility is an important but previously overlooked determinant of increased longevity in the United States. We also find that the probability of moving to a state that has fewer days of extreme cold is higher for the age groups that are predicted to benefit more in terms of lower mortality compared to the age groups that are predicted to benefit less.

download in pdf format
   (502 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (502 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Published: Olivier Deschênes & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Extreme Weather Events, Mortality, and Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 659-681, 02.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Deschenes and Greenstone w13178 Climate Change, Mortality, and Adaptation: Evidence from Annual Fluctuations in Weather in the US
Jacob, Lefgren, and Moretti w10739 The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks
Bhattacharya, DeLeire, Haider, and Currie w9004 Heat or Eat? Cold Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families
Dell, Jones, and Olken w14132 Climate Change and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century
Weinzierl w18045 Why do we Redistribute so Much but Tag so Little? The principle of equal sacrifice and optimal taxation
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us