Mortality From Forces of Nature Among Older Adults by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

Rachel M. Adams, Candace M. Evans, Mason Clay Mathews, Amy Wolkin, Lori Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Older adults are especially vulnerable to disasters due to high rates of chronic illness, disability, and social isolation. Limited research examines how gender, race/ethnicity, and forces of nature—defined here as different types of natural hazards, such as storms and earthquakes—intersect to shape older adults’ disaster-related mortality risk. We compare mortality rates among older adults (60+ years) in the United States across gender, race/ethnicity, and hazard type using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wonder database. Our results demonstrate that older adult males have higher mortality rates than females. American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) males have the highest mortality and are particularly impacted by excessive cold. Mortality is also high among Black males, especially due to cataclysmic storms. To address disparities, messaging and programs targeting the dangers of excessive cold should be emphasized for AI/AN older adult males, whereas efforts to reduce harm from cataclysmic storms should target Black older adult males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1526
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • diversity and ethnicity
  • environment
  • gender
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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