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How COVID-19 is exposing inequality in America

  • Uneducated Americans are more likely to be uninsured

    Health insurance in the U.S. is typically provided through an employer, and those without an education might not be able to secure a job with health benefits. Around a third of people in the U.S. who have not earned a high school degree lack health insurance—a situation that affects only about 5% of college graduates, according to Jonathan JB Mijs of The Conversation. That could make them resistant to seeking care if they have COVID-19 symptoms or leave them with a huge medical bill if they get treatment.

  • Uneducated Americans are less likely to have a work-from-home option

    Your exposure to the coronavirus can be impacted by your education and what type of job you have. While more than half of college graduates can work remotely (and thus avoid exposing themselves to the virus in the office and on public transportation), just 12% of workers who have a high school degree can work from home. What’s more, only 4% of workers without a high school diploma have the option to telecommute, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics via Jonathan JB Mijs of The Conversation.

  • Women are less likely to die from COVID-19 but more likely to suffer other effects

    While women are less likely to die from COVID-19 than men are, they are disproportionately bearing the brunt of other negative effects of the pandemic. They comprise the majority of the world’s older adult population, they’re more likely not to live with anyone else, and they tend to have less access to mobile phones or the internet, leaving them at risk of isolation, according to the United Nations.

  • 14% of US households with school children don't have internet access

    Household income levels are making it harder for some students to keep up with online schoolwork while their classrooms are closed. Around 14% of U.S. households with students have no internet access, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration via the Observer. These offline households tend to have much lower incomes than families who are connected to the internet.


  • Black, Hispanic, and rural households are less likely to have internet access

    With more students relying on the internet to keep up with school during the pandemic, the digital divide (and those who are left behind due to a lack of internet access) is becoming more apparent. Only about 8 in 10 African American and Hispanic children have internet access at home, compared with nearly 9 in 10 Asian American and white children. Furthermore, there is a four-percentage-point divide in home internet access between urban and rural households, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

  • Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans are more likely to be uninsured

    Health insurance is a vital service that can play a role in whether or not people can afford treatment for COVID-19 or another serious issue. While people of color are more likely to be affected by COVID-19, they’re also less likely than their white counterparts to have health insurance, according to Samantha Artiga, Rachel Garfield, and Kendal Orgera of Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • People of color account for more COVID-19 cases

    COVID-19 is impacting racial groups in different ways, with people of color faring the worst. Data from The COVID Tracking Project shows that while people of color make up a smaller percentage of state populations, they account for a disproportionately high rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths in many states.

  • Black Americans in coronavirus hot spots are twice as likely to die from COVID-19

    Health disparities among races have become more visible in coronavirus hot spots. In New York City, for example, Black people face double the risk of dying from COVID-19 than white people, according to data released in mid-April by the city’s Health Department, via ABC News.

  • Minorities are less likely to have the option to work remotely

    While telecommuting has been one strategy people and companies have used to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, it’s not an option for all workers. Just 16.2% of Hispanic or Latinx Americans and 19.7% of Black or African Americans can work from home, compared with nearly 30% of white people, according to 2017–2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


  • Minority populations disproportionately make up essential workers

    Essential workers have been forced to put their own health at risk by going into their workplace throughout the pandemic. Jobs deemed essential like grocery clerks, bus drivers, health care workers, and custodians tend to be held by minorities rather than white people, according to Aaron van Dorn, Rebecca E. Cooney, and Miriam L. Sabin of The Lancet.

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