Not the Great Equalizer: Which Neighborhoods are Most Economically Vulnerable to the Coronavirus Crisis?
10 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2021
Date Written: May 4, 2020
This report and its accompanying interactive map show the vulnerability of every U.S. neighborhood to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Using data from the American Community Survey, they show that:
• High-Poverty Communities Are the Most Economically Vulnerable. About 78 percent of high-poverty neighborhoods but only 15 percent of low-poverty neighborhoods are highly vulnerable to the economic effects of the crisis.
• Economic Vulnerability Is Concentrated in Communities of Color. Of the tenth of neighborhoods
that are most vulnerable to the crisis’ economic fallout, 87 percent are communities of color.
• Even Among High-Poverty Communities, Communities of Color Are the Most Vulnerable. Ninety
percent of high-poverty neighborhoods whose residents are primarily people of color are highly vulnerable, compared to only 56 percent of high-poverty tracts that are at least 50 percent white.
To prevent highly vulnerable neighborhoods from falling further behind the rest of the nation, state and local policymakers and assistance providers should target economic assistance to those neighborhoods, redirect existing funding to those neighborhoods as permitted by law, and ensure that residents of highly vulnerable neighborhoods know how to access the federal, state, and local government aid that is available to them. In the long term, policies that improve access to the internet, mobility, affordable housing, and affordable health coverage in those communities are needed to make highly vulnerable neighborhoods less vulnerable.
Keywords: coronavirus, neighborhoods, economic impact, poverty
JEL Classification: I10, I14, I15, R10, R23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation