Rapid economic development has led to the deterioration of atmospheric environmental quality in China, where outdoor PM2.5 exposure has become the fourth leading risk factor. Meanwhile, differences in
socioeconomic level and demographic characteristics have led to gaps in provinces coping with air pollution, which means different social vulnerability levels in different provinces. With reference to research
achievements of social vulnerability, this study made a new trial regarding social vulnerability assessment to air pollution, which contains exposure, susceptibility and adaptability three dimensions. Based on ChinaHighPM2.5 and LandScanTM dataset, socioeconomic and demographic data at provincial level, we used PM2.5 exposure risk assessment model and global exposure mortality model (GEMM) to analyze the spatiotemporal distribution of PM2.5 concentration and its health effect, then assess the social vulnerability to air pollution for China provinces based on principle component analysis (PCA) and disaster risk assessment method. Results show that the PM2.5 concentration increased during 2000~2013 and decreased significantly after 2013 because of air control policies. Correspondingly, the number of PM2.5-related premature mortality also showed a trend of increasing first and then decreasing during 2000~2019. In the context of air pollution, high social vulnerability level is mainly concentrated in the central region of China, such as Sichuan and Chongqing, and the level decreases from the central region to the periphery, the eastern coastal regions have a relatively weak social vulnerability, such as Guangdong and Shanghai. As a result, PM2.5 is still a great threat to human health in China and the spatial variation and inequality in social vulnerability provide policy-makers a scientific basis for air pollution prevention and sustainable
Keywords PM2.5, health effect, spatiotemporal distribution, social vulnerability.