ulation is more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2 due to where a group of people lives or their working conditions, or it could mean that if this population does contract the disease, they are more likely to suffer complications or die, often due to pre-existing health conditions or disparities in health care.
Using data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on high-risk conditions along with other public health resources such as the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and health reporting from trusted journalistic sources, Stacker compiled a list of 27 population groups that are vulnerable to COVID-19. For each group, Stacker then compiled data on this population’s distribution across the United States and how these areas with high-risk populations are experiencing the virus. Stacker also used the data to create maps to show the distribution of each risk factor by state across the United States.
Some of these population groups have been scientifically shown to be at higher levels of risk, while others have been highlighted by the CDC or KFF as potential risk factors. Some of these populations are at risk for physical reasons, while others are more at risk due to social and economic factors. And while in some cases, measures have been taken to try to protect these at-risk groups, in other cases, the populations in question remain especially vulnerable.
It is important to note that while breaking out data on vulnerable populations is useful for identifying particular risk factors in every state, this method does not fully capture vulnerability in each region, as many indicators are correlated. For example, Black populations disproportionately live in more crowded housing, have lower wages, and have higher rates of respiratory conditions influenced by pollution; all of these indicators are listed separately in this story, but many of the same people may be counted in all four groups.
Stacker has also created a public spreadsheet where you can see more information on the methodology used to create this piece. This spreadsheet includes data sources for each indicator as well as population breakdowns for every state. Stacker has also created maps to show the distribution of high-risk groups across the country.
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