Survey Data on Coronavirus Effects Reveal Racial Lines

The economic and health effects of coronavirus have spread unevenly across racial lines in the United States, as further revealed by new research from the Pew Research Center.

May 12, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Public Health

Emily Geraghty / Shutterstock

Mark Hugo Lopez, Lee Rainie, and Abby Budiman present new data and analysis on the disparate public health and economic effects of the coronavirus for Black and Hispanic Americans.

The financial shocks of the outbreak have hit Hispanic and black Americans especially hard. When it comes to public health, black Americans appear to account for a larger share of COVID-19 hospitalizations nationally than their share of the population. And in New York City, death rates per 100,000 people are highest among blacks and Hispanics.

In addition to the previous reports cited in that paragraph, new data from Pew Research Center surveys show additional disparities along racial lines in terms of public health and economic experiences in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. The article presents five key findings, with more details included in the source article:

  • Job and wage losses due to COVID-19 have hit Hispanic adults the hardest. 
  • Most black and Hispanic Americans do not have financial reserves to cover expenses in case of an emergency.
  • The COVID-19 economic downturn has made it harder for some Americans to pay their monthly bills.
  • There are sharp racial and ethnic differences in personal experiences with COVID-19 and in concerns about spreading or catching the virus.
  • Hispanic and black Americans are more likely than white adults to say cellphone tracking is acceptable in efforts to fight the virus. 

For a few ideas about how to respond to the pre-existing conditions that have rendered these racial disparities obvious during the pandemic, see a Planetizen feature by Joan Alexander, with examples from Oakland and Austin.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 in Pew Research Center

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