Disparities in Vulnerability to Severe Complications from Covid-19 in the United States

39 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020 Last revised: 31 Jul 2021

See all articles by Emily Wiemers

Emily Wiemers

Syracuse University

Scott Abrahams

Duke University

Marwa AlFakhri

Duke University

V. Joseph Hotz

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Robert Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Judith Seltzer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

This paper provides the first nationally representative estimates of vulnerability to severe com-plications from COVID-19 overall and across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine the prevalence of specific health condi-tions associated with complications from COVID-19 and to calculate, for each individual, an index of the risk of severe complications from respiratory infections developed by DeCaprio et al. (2020). We show large disparities across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status in the prev-alence of conditions which are associated with the risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Moreover, we show that these disparities emerge early in life, prior to age 65, leading to higher vulnerability to such complications. While vulnerability is highest among older adults regardless of their race-ethnicity or socioeconomic status, our results suggest particular attention should also be given to the risk of adverse outcomes in midlife for non-Hispanic Blacks, adults with a high school degree or less, and low-income Americans.

Suggested Citation

Wiemers, Emily and Abrahams, Scott and AlFakhri, Marwa and Hotz, V. Joseph and Schoeni, Robert and Seltzer, Judith, Disparities in Vulnerability to Severe Complications from Covid-19 in the United States (June 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27294, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621798

Emily Wiemers (Contact Author)

Syracuse University

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Scott Abrahams

Duke University

Marwa AlFakhri

Duke University

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

V. Joseph Hotz

Duke University ( email )

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Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708
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919-684-8974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.duke.edu/~vjh3

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Bonn, D-53072
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Robert Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Judith Seltzer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

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