Black Urban Areas Are Much Hotter Than White City Neighborhoods in the Summer

New research from the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy finds that low-income neighborhoods and communities with higher Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations experience significantly more urban heat than wealthier neighborhoods.

Researchers analyzed temperature data on 1,056 U.S. counties, which have 10 or more census districts. The authors were able to analyze surface temperature changes caused by urbanization on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood scale by using satellite data. Through leveraging a pixel-based image analysis to visualize and examine temperatures continuously over a large area, they were able to evaluate heating differences within cities. They compared these statistics to census district demographic information to quantify environmental inequities in urban climates. In 71 percent of the counties studied, land surface temperatures in communities with higher rates of poverty were up to 4 degrees Celsius, or 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, compared to the richest neighborhoods during the summer months.

“The physical features driving surface heat spikes in these urban environments are fairly consistent across the country, even for cities with very different geographies and histories,” said lead author Susanne Benz, who was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego while conducting the study. “Systematically, the disproportionate heat surface exposures faced by low-income communities with larger minority populations are due to more built-up neighborhoods, less vegetation, and – to a lesser extent – higher population density.”

“Particularly in summer, warming in cities due to alterations of the surface energy balance jeopardizes human health and productivity,” said Jennifer Burney, the Marshall Saunders Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Global Climate Policy and Research at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and co-author of the study.

Extreme heat has been linked to a range of consequences for humans, from premature births, to lower test scores, decreases in productivity, and increased risk of heatstroke among children and the elderly.

The study, “Widespread Race and Class Disparities in Surface Urban Heat Extremes Across the United States,” was published in the journal Earth’s Future. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. This so-called racist research study is nothing more than a SCIENCE version of the Bell Curve in the 21st century. In fact, this racist hypothesis asserting the correlation between “extreme heat and premature births, lower test scores, decreases in productivity, and increased risk of heatstroke among children and the elderly” would easily qualify as a eugenics model coming from the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

    For those who dissent, I can similarly say those who are “White Americans”(or other Europeans) are more inclined to be the architects of oppression, unnecessary and perpetual wars, underfund public schools, create unjust domestic laws, appropriate mineral resources and cultural from those who are identified as Black Americans. In other words, arctic people are more likely to destroy planet earth due to their rapacious appetite for total domination and violence.

  2. That’s simply science and engineering. Concrete laiden cities have more brick, mortar and cement that suburban areas with soil and greenery. If you record the temperature on concrete and grass where you live in the summer, you will see a temperature change.

    I will also say this is a very old and well known recycled collaboration of studies that really should not be tied to race and more so city vs suburban lifestyles.

    Of course having family in a lot of rural farmland areas from the Carolinas to Texas there are more heat related deaths in some farmlands where for example in Texas you will find more older living structures vs in city dwellings where air conditioning is more prevalent.

    Still, a lot of symantecs here.

    As a 70’s child, I remember most of our family not having Air Conditioning and sitting still in front of a box fan with my grandparents and being just fine..

    • Your entire comment was complete nonsense. You somehow forget to assess how racist this research study was in its entirety. I just bet you’re an establishment so-called Black American whose probably happy sleeping on Corn Shucks.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Historians in Higher Education Receive Prestigious Dan David Prize

Keisha Blain of Brown University and Cécile Fromont of Harvard University have received 2024 Dan David Prizes for their outstanding achievements as academic historians.

City of Hope Partners with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine to Advance Diversity in Cancer Research

“By working together, City of Hope and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science aim to address health disparities and promote diversity in specialized medical fields, ultimately improving health care outcomes for the communities we serve," said David Carlisle, president of CDU.

Nine Black Leaders Selected for Administrative Positions in Higher Education

Here is this week’s roundup of African Americans who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to

All in the Family

Nelson Mandela once stated, “Education is the most powerful weapon we have to change the world.” One family that has taken that sentiment to heart is the Millet family.

Featured Jobs