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Charts of the Week: COVID-19’s impact on different groups in America


In Charts of the Week this week, more insights into how COVID-19 is having an impact on different groups in America. Learn more from Brookings scholars about the global response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 spreading to suburban, whiter, and more Republican-leaning areas

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Bill Frey discusses how “new counties showing a high prevalence of COVID-19 cases are more suburban, whiter, and voted more strongly for Donald Trump than counties the virus hit first.” As the weeks pass, Frey observes that counties entering high-prevalence shifted from core urban counties to those in the suburbs and small and nonmetropolitan areas. Frey concludes that “it is important to continue to track these demographic trends as the pandemic evolves in order to gain a more accurate perspective of its impact on the nation.”



Sifan Liu and Joseph Parilla describe two small business crisis in the United States: the sudden shock from the COVID-19 crisis, but also the “the structural racial and gender disparities in business ownership.” Noting that while people of color represent about 40% of the nation’s population, they account for only a fifth of business owners. While the pandemic is having a huge impact on all small businesses Liu and Parilla explore how it might have a disproportionate impact on minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) due to the higher prevalence of MWBEs in the retail, food service, and other industries most affected by closings.


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Fatalities from COVID-19 are hitting Black Americans harder than others, with rates of death in Black communities exceeding their proportion of the local population. Andre Perry, David Harshbarger, and Carl Romer explain a variety of social and economic conditions that already put Black Americans at higher risk for a range of negative health outcomes. A related factor is the higher prevalence in Black majority neighborhoods for multiple generations living under one roof, which is another indicator of higher potential illness and death rates from COVID-19.

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