Pre-existing Economic Conditions and COVID-19 Infections and Mortality in New York City

31 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 22 Dec 2020

See all articles by Prabal K. De

Prabal K. De

City College of New York; CUNY Graduate Center

Taylor Price

University of Connecticut

Date Written: November 9, 2020


Objectives. We investigated the association of pre-existing economic variables with COVID-19 infections and mortality in New York City.

Methods. We combined zip code-level data from New York City’s Department of Health with 5-year American Community Survey. We estimated least squares models of the prevalence of positive COVID-19 test results and deaths per 100,000 population.

Results. Zip codes with higher concentrations of residents living in crowded living quarters, employees in high-risk occupations, and employees commuting more than half an hour were positively and significantly associated with higher infection rates. Higher rates of crowded housing were significantly and positively related to mortality rates, though the positive point estimates for the other two economic variables were statistically insignificant.

Conclusions. Economic factors such as working and living conditions beyond common measures such as income and poverty can have significant public health effects. Policymakers should consider these associations while designing and modifying public health policies.

Keywords: COVID-19, Occupations, Housing, New York City

Suggested Citation

De, Prabal and Price, Taylor, Pre-existing Economic Conditions and COVID-19 Infections and Mortality in New York City (November 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Prabal De (Contact Author)

City College of New York ( email )

Convert Avenue at 138th Street
New York, NY 10031
United States

CUNY Graduate Center ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Taylor Price

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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