Capacities of Health Systems in Climate Migrant Receiving Communities
Insights in the US Gulf Coast
Published in: Urban Institute website (2023)
Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2023
Climate shocks and stresses and the process of movement have the potential to influence people's physical, mental, and social health and well-being. In this chapter, we explore one aspect relevant to climate migration and health: how the health care delivery system in receiving communities meets the needs of migrants experiencing the effects of climate change (termed "climate migrants" in this report). We draw on insights from interviews with health care providers and existing county-level data from the Area Resources Health File in three sites in the US Gulf region between 2005 and 2022: Houston, Texas, where migrants relocated from Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005; Orlando, Florida, where migrants from Puerto Rico relocated after Hurricane Maria in 2017; and Lafourche and Northern Terrebonne Parishes, where migrants from southern coastal areas have relocated in response to ongoing sea level rise and environmental degradation. In this report, we examine how each community's health care system interpreted the needs of climate migrants and how they shifted services in response to those needs. Through this analysis, we aim to support research and policy designed to improve the health and well-being of climate migrants and the communities in which they settle. We provide topline key research insights, policy recommendations, and more study detail on the findings that guide these recommendations.