NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Deaths: Seeking Economic Roots with Census data.

John McLaren

NBER Working Paper No. 27407
Issued in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

This note seeks the socioeconomic roots of racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality, using county-level mortality, economic, and demographic data from 3,140 counties. For all minorities, the minority's population share is strongly correlated with total COVID-19 deaths. For Hispanic/Latino and Asian minorities those correlations are fragile, and largely disappear when we control for education, occupation, and commuting patterns. For African Americans and First Nations populations, the correlations are very robust. Surprisingly, for these two groups the racial disparity does not seem to be due to differences in income, poverty rates, education, occupational mix, or even access to healthcare insurance. A significant portion of the disparity can, however, be sourced to the use of public transit.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27407

 
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