Special Report

How COVID-19 Has Disproportionately Affected Minority Communities In Every State

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16. Kansas
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (5.6% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 10.3%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 22.6%
> County with highest cumulative cases: Ford County (5,730 per 100,000 county residents)
> Ford County population: White (40.2%); Black (1.9%); AIAN (0.3%); Asian (1.5%); NHPI (0.1%); Hispanic (54.5%)

Although Kansas has a relatively small Black population, making up 5.6% of the state’s population, COVID-19 infections and deaths are disproportionately affecting the Black community. Blacks account for 10.3% of the coronavirus cases recorded in the state and 22.6% of COVID-19 deaths.

The total number of infections is highest in Johnson and Wyandotte counties, which encompass Kansas City and its suburbs, in the eastern part of the state. Adjusted for population, however, the highest number of infections is in Ford County, in the southwestern part of the state. The county reported 5,730.2 cases per 100,000 people as of July 13. The non-Hispanic white population of Ford County is less than 40%, while the Hispanic population is more than 50% and the Black population is less than 3%. No data was available for Hispanic residents of the state. Kansas does not release data on coronavirus deaths by county.

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17. Kentucky
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (7.9% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 14.7%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 15.4%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Butler County (110 per 100,000 county residents)
> Butler County population: White (94.9%); Black (0.3%); AIAN (0.2%); Asian (0.2%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (3.2%)

In Kentucky, most of the counties hit hardest by the coronavirus are predominantly white. Still, while Black residents account for just 7.9% of Kentucky’s population, they account for 15.4% of all known COVID-19 deaths.

Low-income populations, irrespective of race, are more susceptible to both the economic and health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic — and incomes in Kentucky are generally low. The typical household in the state earns $48,392 a year, well below the $60,293 national median annual household income.

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18. Louisiana
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (32.0% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: N/A
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 52.7%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Bienville Parish (205 per 100,000 county residents)
> Bienville Parish population: White (54.4%); Black (43.0%); AIAN (0.0%); Asian (0.1%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (0.2%)

Just under one-in-three Louisiana residents are Black. However, the state’s Black population has borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for over half of all coronavirus related deaths. In each of the seven counties in the state with the highest COVID-19 death rate, the concentration of Black residents is greater than it is statewide. In these counties, largely concentrated in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metro areas, COVID-19 deaths range from 126 per 100,000 people to 205 for every 100,000 people, and populations are anywhere from 35.5% to 59.0% Black. For context, there have been 39 deaths for every 100,000 people nationwide. There have been 72 COVID-19 deaths across Louisiana for every 100,000 residents, the sixth highest of all states.

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19. Maine
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (1.3% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 26.9%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 2.1%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Waldo County (36 per 100,000 county residents)
> Waldo County population: White (95.6%); Black (0.5%); AIAN (0.5%); Asian (0.5%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (1.3%)

Maine is the least racially diverse state in the country. A little over 93% of the population identifies as white, compared to 61.1% of the U.S. population. Maine also has the worst disparity in COVID-19 infections along racial lines than any other state in the country. Though only 1.3% of Mainers are Black, the Black population accounts for nearly 27% of all known cases of the coronavirus.

Many of the state’s Black and minority residents who tested positive are immigrants. To help stop the spread in the immigrant community, who often have crowded living conditions, the cities of Portland, Lewiston, Augusta, Waterville, and Bangor are providing hotel rooms to individuals who tested positive to self isolate.

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20. Maryland
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (29.3% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 37.2%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 41.2%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Kent County (117 per 100,000 county residents)
> Kent County population: White (77.8%); Black (14.3%); AIAN (0.1%); Asian (1.3%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (4.3%)

With 29.3% of its residents identifying as Black, Maryland has one of the most diverse populations in the country. Only Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana have populations with a larger percentage of Blacks. Even so, Maryland shows a large disparity related to COVID-19. Black Americans represent 37.2% of the Maryland residents who have tested positive by the coronavirus and account for 41.2% of the deaths.

Prince George’s County, which borders Washington, D.C., is one of the most affluent majority African American counties in the United States. It is also the county with the highest incidence of COVID-19 infection, with 2,181 infections per 100,000 residents. It is second only to Kent County in the rate of coronavirus deaths, with 78.8 deaths per 100,000. Kent County’s population is less than 15% Black and more than 75% non-Hispanic white.