COVID-19 Data Analysis: ZIP Code Data and Health Inequities

A graph showing distribution of mortality per ZIP code for Black household population in Chicagoland (as of July 1, 2020).

Analyzing the COVID-19 fatalities of household residents by race/ethnicity, as opposed to the overall population, is likely to add another dimension to the health inequity crisis occurring in major metropolitan centers like Chicago. Loss of life per ZIP code is a highly skewed distribution with the majority of ZIP codes registering few fatalities.

Top 10 ZIP code mortalities by race and their averages for household populations in Chicagoland

To identify patterns and summarize outcome characteristics, the 10 ZIP codes with the highest race-specific mortality were selected for comparison. These cases include ZIP codes with race-specific mortality above the 94th percentile. Household population mortality per race for the top 10 ZIP codes are presented in the table below.

Based on this analysis, the highest death toll for all races occurs in a predominantly Black/ Latinx community encompassing the South Lawndale and Little Village communities (60623). Comparison of the ZIP code rankings between the overall population and the race-specific columns demonstrates a total discordance for all races. To underline this discordance, two of the top ZIP codes in the overall population are not even listed in any of the race-specific rankings (60714 and 60626); the highest overall population mortality ZIP code (60649; 95 percent Black) with 140 fatalities is only listed for the Black HP
with 52 fatalities.

The above findings confirm the importance of long term care facility-related mortality for conducting race-specific studies. In addition, they signify the ZIP code-level distinctiveness of the two populations.
White Black Latinx Overall
ZIP Fatalities ZIP Fatalities ZIP Fatalities ZIP Fatalities
60632 19 60628 67 60623 81 60649 140
60623 18 60649 52 60804 50 60623 138
60639 17 60620 49 60639 49 60714 136
60630 15 60619 47 60629 49 60626 110
60638 15 60644 35 60632 40 60625 101
60629 14 60636 35 60647 32 60639 100
60625 14 60617 33 60608 31 60628 91
60804 12 60643 30 60609 24 60453 90
60016 12 60623 29 60618 242 60629 86
60634 11 60651 25 60641 20 60632 85
Average 14.7 Average 40.2 Average 40.0 Average 105.3

Top 10 ZIP code mortalities by race and their averages for Chicagoland populations living in long-term care facilities (LTCF)

White and Black LTCF-related mortality comprised close to 50 percent of the overall population mortality for each race. In this section, we will further examine the significance of these numbers. The table below underlines the alarming reality for the older population of Chicagoland residing in LTCF. At a comparison level, relying on the overall population numbers conceals that for the White and Black population in Chicagoland, another inequitable public health crisis lies within the LTCF. It is worth noting that the majority of LTCF-related mortalities are not within the top HP-related ZIP codes. The mortality rate picture becomes much more alarming if the population living in “group quarters” is used as a denominator for the LTCF-related mortality rate. LTCF residents belong to this group designation, and the US Census Bureau enumerates them. With this modification, the results are presented as mortality rate as a percent of the people living in those group quarters. Given that the overall mortality rate for the City of Chicago is approximately 0.1%, the LTCF rates reveal the alarming level of this disparity.
White household population White LTCF population Black household population Black LTCF population
ZIP Fatalities ZIP Fatalities Mortality rate as percentage of group quarters population ZIP Fatalities ZIP Fatalities Mortality rate as percentage of group quarters population
60623 19 60714 62 4.9 60628 67 60649 81 8.4
60623 18 60626 48 1.4 60649 52 60453 38 7.0
60639 17 60614 36 0.9 60620 49 60644 33 3.4
60630 15 60463 35 4.1 60619 47 60626 31 0.9
60638 15 60090 34 5.9 60644 35 60652 28 13.5
60629 14 60068 33 6.4 60636 35 60628 22 3.5
60625 14 60016 32 3.7 60617 33 60430 22 6.8
60804 12 60640 32 1.2 60643 30 60473 21 3.0
60016 12 60706 30 6.9 60623 029 60621 18 2.8
60634 11 60202 29 4.4 60651 25 60625 16 0.7
Average 14.7 Average 37.1 3.8 Average 40.2 Average 31.0 5.0