COVID: Revealing deep inequities by race

COVID: Revealing deep inequities by race

Overall COVID-19 mortality rate for Black Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for Whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos.

APM Research Lab has released data about the race and ethnicity of the deceased by the novel coronavirus outbreak inside the United States, and it reveals that aggregated deaths from COVID-19 in these 40 states and the District of Columbia have reached new highs for all groups (as of May 27, 2020):

  • 1 in 1,850 Black Americans has died (or 54.6 deaths per 100,000)

  • 1 in 4,000 Latino Americans has died (or 24.9 deaths per 100,000)

  • 1 in 4,200 Asian Americans has died (or 24.3 deaths per 100,000)

  • 1 in 4,400 White Americans has died (or 22.7 deaths per 100,000)

Another way to examine racial disproportionality in COVID-related mortality is by comparing the percentage of COVID-19 deaths to the percentage of population. Our chosen threshold for highlighting disproportionality is a difference of two percentage points or more, above or below the population share.

Collectively, Black Americans represent 13% of the population in all areas in the U.S. releasing COVID mortality data, but they have suffered 25% of deaths. Black Americans were over-represented in COVID-19 deaths overall and in 28 of the 41 jurisdictions we examined. In 16 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Black residents’ share of the deaths exceed their share of the population by 10 to 31 percentage points.

Indigenous Americans

454 Indigenous Americans are known to have lost their lives to COVID-19 through Tuesday, May 26. This is an increase of 51 deaths among Indigenous people compared to our last report one week earlier (reflecting the same set of reporting areas).

Note that the state of Oklahoma, which we estimated to have 21 Indigenous deaths one week earlier, has downwardly revised its reported percentage. We now estimate eight known Indigenous deaths in Oklahoma; therefore it no longer appears in the below graph.

This total is a known under-count. Numerous states report Indigenous deaths in the Other category, so we cannot see those numbers uniquely.

The graph below shows where Indigenous deaths are over- or under-represented, relative to their population, in places with 10 or more known deaths.

  • Data for Indigenous Americans is severely limited, but Indigenous people are dying above their population share in Mississippi (by 3 percentage points), Arizona (by 17 points) and, most dramatically, in New Mexico (by 47 points).

  • Arizona and New Mexico both contain portions of the Navajo Nation, which has been severely hit by the virus.

  • The convergence of racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 mortality in Mississippi has resulted in more than 1 in 1,000 (not 100,000) Indigenous residents who have died there. The Indigenous mortality rate in New Mexico is also just below this threshold.

  • Please see our complete data file to examine deaths for “Other” race Americans, which include Indigenous residents in many states.

Asian Americans

  • For each 100,000 Americans (of their respective group), about 24 Asians have died from the coronavirus, a mortality rate slightly below Latinos (25), slightly above Whites (23) and well below Blacks (55).

  • The convergence of racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 mortality in New York has resulted in more than 1 in 1,000 (not 100,000) Asian residents who have died there (driven largely by New York City).

  • Across all 41 reporting jurisdictions combined, Asians are about equally likely to die of COVID-19 as would be expected based on their population share. Collectively, they represent 5.3% of the population in these places but have experienced 4.6% of deaths in all cases where race and ethnicity is known.

  • In 13 states, Asians are dying roughly proportional to their share of the population. In six states, Asians are under-represented in mortality statistics relative to their population, most dramatically in New Jersey. (Note: A difference of two percentage points or more is what we have considered above or below the population share. Proportionality was only examined in states with 10 or more deaths.)

Latinos

  • For each 100,000 Americans (of their respective group), about 25 Latinos have died from the coronavirus, a mortality rate somewhat above Asians (24) and Whites (23), but well below Blacks (55 per 100,000).

  • The convergence of racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 mortality in New Jersey and New York has resulted more than 1 in 1,000 (not 100,000) Latino residents who have died in those two states.

  • When we combine data across all 40 states reporting data and Washington, D.C., Latinos are dying from COVID-19 at a rate similar to their share of the population (18.5%). They have suffered 16.4% of deaths in America where race and ethnicity is known.

  • However, Latino Americans are dying at rates above their population share in New York, Illinois and Wisconsin. (Note: A difference of two percentage points or more, before rounding, is what we have considered above or below the population share. Proportionality was only examined in states with 10 or more deaths.)

  • In New York, Latinos comprise 19.2% of the population, but have suffered 26.2% of deaths. At the time of this writing, 7,021 Latinos were known to have died in New York (including 6,201 in New York City), which has experienced the highest overall (and Latino) mortality rate of any state.

  • In 21 states, Latinos have a mortality advantage, dying less often than their population would suggest. They are most under-represented—dying far less likely than their population share—in New Mexico.

  • Of note, Texas—a state with significant numbers of Latino residents—has only reported ethnicity for 25% of its total COVID-related deaths. From this limited reporting, however, Texas is showing an under-representation of Latinos in its mortality statistics. Users are cautioned, however, that deaths of unknown race and ethnicity may have a different distribution than known deaths.

White Americans

  • For each 100,000 Americans (of their respective group), about 23 Whites have died from the coronavirus, a mortality rate somewhat lower than both Asians (24) and Latinos (25), and less than half of the rate for Blacks (55).

  • Connecticut has seen the highest rate of COVID-related deaths among White residents in the country: more than 1 in 1,000 (not 100,000) White residents have died there. (However, Blacks are still 1.3 times more likely to have died in that state than Whites.)

  • White Americans are dying at elevated rates in eight states (Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Idaho, Texas, Washington, Delaware and Minnesota). (Note: A difference of two percentage points or more, before rounding, is what we have considered above or below the population share. Proportionality was only examined in states with 10 or more deaths.)

  • Most dramatically, White residents in Rhode Island have suffered 83% of all the state’s reported COVID-19 deaths. However, they represent only 71% of the overall population.

  • In 25 states and the District of Columbia, Whites are under-represented in mortality statistics relative to their population, often greatly so. In five states (Arkansas, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Michigan) as well as in Washington, D.C., the difference between their share of the population and their share of deaths is 20 percentage points or more, revealing a significant mortality advantage for White Americans.

  • Across all 41 reporting jurisdictions combined, Whites are considerably less likely to die from COVID-19 than expected, given their share of the population. They represent 61.7% of the combined population, but have experienced 49.7% of deaths in America where race and ethnicity is known.

2020-06-03T16:13:25+00:00

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