Special Report

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

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21. Massachusetts
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (6.8% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 15.3%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 8.9%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Essex County (145 per 100,000 county residents)
> Essex County population: White (71.0%); Black (3.1%); AIAN (0.1%); Asian (3.4%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (20.4%)

The two Massachusetts counties with the highest concentration of COVID-19 deaths — Essex and Hampden — are also home to disproportionately large shares Hispanic and Latino populations. In Essex, where there have been 146 deaths for every 100,000 people, 20.4% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, and in Hampden, a county with 145 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people, 24.6% of the population are Hispanic or Latino. For comparison, 11.6% of the Massachusetts population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, and there have been 121 deaths per 100,000 people statewide.

The economic and public health toll of the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting lower-income households. Across Massachusetts, the typical Latino or Hispanic household earns $41,289 a year, well below the $81,877 the typical white household earns.

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22. Michigan
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (13.7% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 39.6%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 42.5%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Wayne County (157 per 100,000 county residents)
> Wayne County population: White (49.6%); Black (38.7%); AIAN (0.3%); Asian (3.2%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (5.9%)

Michigan has some of the worst racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes along racial lines of any state. Though less than 14% of the state’s population is Black, nearly 43% of all Michigan residents who have died from COVID-19 were Black.

The statewide disparity is driven in large part by Wayne County, which includes the city of Detroit. In Wayne, a county where 38.7% of the population is Black, there have been 157 COVID-19 deaths for every 100,000 people, by far the highest death rate in the state. According to a Brooking’s study, social distancing was not an option for many Black Detroiters due to any number of factors, including work demands, transportation needs, and housing settings.

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23. Minnesota
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (6.1% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 28.9%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 10.1%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Hennepin County (64 per 100,000 county residents)
> Hennepin County population: White (69.2%); Black (12.9%); AIAN (0.6%); Asian (7.0%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (6.9%)

In Minnesota, 80.1% or the residents self-identify as white and 6.1% as Black. However, 28.9% of the people who tested positive for the coronavirus are Black, and 10.1% of the people who have died were Black. This disparity is not the only racial divide in the state. Minnesota’s income gap between Blacks and whites is the second largest in the country, exceeded only by Wisconsin’s.

Hennepin County, which encompasses Minneapolis and some of its suburbs, had the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths, with 64.0 per 100,000 residents as of July 13. As of the same date, 39 of Minnesota’s 87 counties had no deaths from COVID-19. Many of those counties are in rural areas and are predominately white.

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24. Mississippi
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (37.5% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 57.1%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 50.7%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Neshoba County (262 per 100,000 county residents)
> Neshoba County population: White (58.6%); Black (21.0%); AIAN (15.9%); Asian (0.5%); NHPI (0.0%); Hispanic (2.0%)

Mississippians identifying as Black account for 37.5% of the state population, the largest share of any state. Still, Mississippi’s Black population is disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Black Mississippians account for half of all COVID-19 deaths in the state to date.

Neshoba County has reported the highest number of deaths per capita of any county in the state. Neshoba is home to a large Choctaw Indian population, and Native Americans have been shown to have an especially high COVID-19 mortality rate. There have been 262 coronavirus deaths for every 100,000 people in Neshoba County compared to 42 deaths per 100,000 statewide. In Neshoba County, 15.9% of the population identifies as Native American, compared to 0.4% of Mississippi’s population.

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25. Missouri
> Community w/ highest death-to-pop. ratio: Black or African American (11.5% of pop.)
> Black share of COVID-19 infections: 36.2%
> Black share of COVID-19 deaths: 37.1%
> County with most COVID-19 deaths: Gentry County (135 per 100,000 county residents)
> Gentry County population: White (96.1%); Black (0.7%); AIAN (0.3%); Asian (0.6%); NHPI (0.1%); Hispanic (1.5%)

Though Black Americans account for just 11.5% of Missouri’s population, the Black population accounts for nearly 37.9% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. In four of the five counties with the highest concentration of COVID-19 deaths, the share of the population identifying as Black is more than double the statewide share.

The economic and public health toll of the pandemic is disproportionately affecting lower-income households. Across Missouri, the typical Black household earns $35,710 a year, a fraction of the $56,701 the typical white household earns in the state.