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Exposure of vulnerable groups to climate risks

Key messages

  • In some European countries (for example, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Romania or Greece) the administrative units with high unemployment rates contain larger areas potentially prone to flooding than areas with low unemployment rates. However, in other countries (Spain, Italy or Slovakia) the areas with lower unemployment tend to have higher exposure to potential flooding.
  • In some European countries (for example, Finland and Greece), the administrative units with high proportion of the elderly people in the population tend to have higher potential flood exposure than locations with lower percentage of the elderly. The situation is reversed in, for example, Croatia, Iceland, Denmark or the Netherlands.
  • Approximately 10% of educational facilities and 11% of healthcare facilities across Europe are located in potential flood-prone areas. The highest proportion of educational facilities potentially at risk of flooding are present in Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia. The highest proportion of healthcare facilities potentially at risk of flooding are present in Finland (33%), the Netherlands (20%), Austria, Sweden and Romania (over 15%). 
  • Across European cities, 46% of hospitals and 43% of schools are in areas at least 2 °C warmer than the regional average due to Urban Heat Island effect. This includes 5% of schools and 4% of healthcare facilities within the intensity of Urban Heat Island above 4 °C. Some of the cities with the highest percentage and total number of schools within UHI > 2 °C are located in Italy, Spain, Greece, and France.

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For information about addressing inequalities in exposure to, and impacts of, climate hazards, see the EEA 2022 briefing ‘Towards ‘just resilience’: leaving no one behind when adapting to climate change’.