COVID-19, Race, and Redlining
COVID-19, Race, and Redlining (with Arcangelo Dimico)
While the United States are registering the highest death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on African Americans has been disproportionately large. To present day, however, the lack of race-disaggregated data has prevented a rigorous assessment of the reasons why blacks are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Using individual and georeferenced death data collected by the Cook County Medical Examiner--and so far unexploited--we provide first descriptive evidence that race does affect COVID-19 outcomes, with blacks being more likely to die from the disease than the other racial and ethnic groups. We also explore which socioeconomic factors are behind these facts. Furthermore, by combining the spatial Distribution of mortality with the redlining maps for the Chicago area, we establish that, after the outbreak of the epidemic, historically redlined neighborhoods are associated with a higher increase in black mortality, uncovering a persistence influence of the racial segregation induced by the discriminatory policies of the 1930s.