Overcrowding and COVID-19 mortality across U.S. counties: Are disparities growing over time?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A growing line of research underscores that sociodemographic factors may contribute to disparities in the impact of COVID-19. Further, stages of disease theory suggests that disparities may grow as the pandemic unfolds and more advantaged areas are better able to apply growing knowledge and mitigation strategies. In this paper, we focus on the role of county-level household overcrowding on disparities in COVID-19 mortality in U.S. counties. We examine this relationship across three theoretically important periods of the pandemic from April-October 2020, that mark both separate stages of community knowledge and national mortality levels. We find evidence that the percentage of overcrowded households is a stronger predictor of COVID-19 mortality during later periods of the pandemic. Moreover, despite a relationship between overcrowding and poverty at the county-level, overcrowding plays an independent role in predicting COVID-19 mortality. Our findings underscore that areas disadvantaged by overcrowding may be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and that this vulnerability may lead to changing disparities over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kamis, C; Stolte, A; West, JS; Fishman, SH; Brown, T; Brown, T; Farmer, HR

Published Date

  • September 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 /

Start / End Page

  • 100845 -

PubMed ID

  • 34189244

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8219888

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2352-8273

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2352-8273

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ssmph.2021.100845


  • eng