IZA Discussion Paper No. 14238

COVID-19, Race, and Gender

The mounting evidence on the demographics of COVID-19 fatalities points to an overrepresentation of minorities and an underrepresentation of women. Using individual-level, race-disaggregated, and georeferenced death data collected by the Cook County Medical Examiner, we jointly investigate the racial and gendered impact of COVID-19, its timing, and its determinants. Through an event study approach we establish that Blacks individuals are affected earlier and more harshly and that the effect is driven by Black women. Rather than comorbidity or aging, the Black female bias is associated with poverty and channeled by occupational segregation in the health care and transportation sectors and by commuting on public transport. Living arrangements and lack of health insurance are instead found uninfluential. The Black female bias is spatially concentrated in neighborhoods that were subject to historical redlining.

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