One thing is clear about the COVID-19 pandemic: While no one is immune from the virus and/or its devastating effects, some communities are hit harder than others. Whether its high prevalence of pre-existing conditions or households in a constant state of precarious economic security, some groups absorb the impact better than others.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a dashboard featuring Community Resilience Estimates, which uses measures of individual and household characteristics to infer how well a community can “absorb, endure, and recover from the health, social and economic impacts of a disaster,” which follows common definitions of community resilience. The idea of creating these estimates is to help facilitate disaster preparedness by “identifying communities where resources and information may effectively mitigate the impact of disasters.” Some of the risk factors the Census Bureau considers are the income-to-poverty ratio, linguistic isolation and unemployment.
The screen shot below shows the state of Georgia with counties shaded according to the percent of households that have three or more risk factors.
One of the things we can do with this tool is compare it to COVID-19 data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. The two screen shots below show Cases per 100,000 (left) and deaths per 100,000 (right). The main point here is that many of the counties dealing with the greatest burden of the pandemic are also among those most vulnerable as measured by their resilience estimates. Because these communities were less able to absorb shocks pre-pandemic, they are also places that are likely to have a hard time recovering post-pandemic.