The effect of the 1995 heat wave in Chicago on all-cause and cause-specific mortality

Am J Public Health. 2007 Apr;97 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S158-62. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.100081. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


Objectives: We sought to reexamine the effects of the 1995 Chicago heat wave on all-cause and cause-specific mortality, including mortality displacement, using advanced time-series analysis methods.

Methods: We used Poisson regression with penalized regression splines to model excess mortality and mortality displacement over a 50-day period centered on the day in which the heat wave temperature peaked, adjusting for meteorological and other variables. We controlled for temporal trends by using daily mortality data during 1993-1997. We estimated relative risks (RRs) with reference to the first day of the 50-day period.

Results: We estimated that there were 692 excess deaths from June 21, 1995, to August 10, 1995; 26% of these deaths were owing to mortality displacement. RR for all-cause mortality on the day with peak mortality was 1.74 (95% confidence interval=1.67, 1.81). Risk of heat-related death was significantly higher among Blacks, and mortality displacement was substantially lower.

Conclusions: The 1995 Chicago heat wave substantially effected all-cause and cause-specific mortality, but mortality displacement was limited. Mortality risks and displacement affected Blacks disproportionally. Appropriately targeted interventions may have a tangible effect on life expectancy.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Cause of Death*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Climate*
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • Heat Stress Disorders / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population


  • Air Pollutants