COVID-19 Mortality at the Neighborhood Level: Racial and Ethnic Inequalities Deepened in Minnesota in 2020
Substantial racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 mortality have been observed at the state and national levels. However, less is known about how race and ethnicity and neighborhood-level disadvantage may intersect to contribute to both COVID-19 mortality and excess mortality during the pandemic. To assess this potential interaction of race and ethnicity with neighborhood disadvantage, Leider and Wrigley-Field link death certificate data from Minnesota from the period 2017–20 to the Area Deprivation Index to examine hyperlocal disparities in mortality. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) standardized COVID-19 mortality was 459 deaths per 100,000 population in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods compared with 126 per 100,000 in the most advantaged. Total mortality increased in 2020 by 14 percent for non-Hispanic White people and 41 percent for BIPOC. Statistical decompositions show that most of this growth in racial and ethnic disparity is associated with mortality gaps between White people and communities of color within the same levels of area disadvantage, rather than with the fact that White people live in more advantaged areas. Policy interventions to reduce COVID-19 mortality must consider neighborhood context.