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Not the Great Equalizer: Which Neighborhoods Are Most Economically Vulnerable to the Coronavirus Crisis?

Roughly two months have passed since the first US states began implementing stay-at-home measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Since then, over 1.5 million cases have been reported. Meanwhile, as the public health crisis worsens, an unprecedented economic crisis is emerging along with it. First-time filing for unemployment in the US has reached record highs; eight weeks into lock-down, over 36 million people have lost their jobs.

These numbers are alarming and command that targeted, direct interventions must happen immediately in order to protect the most vulnerable from further economic catastrophe. The question is which specific places should policy makers and assistance providers focus on first?

To answer this, ICIC’s research team has created an open-access, interactive map that shows which of the nation’s 70,000+ neighborhoods are most likely to suffer economic hardship as a result of the current coronavirus crisis. The map assembles data on threatened industries, household vehicle access, household internet access, housing cost burden, and health insurance coverage to create a comprehensive illustration of economic impact. Anyone can search the map right now and see which neighborhoods in their own cities and regions are most vulnerable.

In addition to the map, ICIC’s companion report, Not the Great Equalizer: Which Neighborhoods Are Most Economically Vulnerable to the Coronavirus Crisis?, offers further insight and analysis on COVID-19’s neighborhood-level impact. The report includes detailed analysis on a few specific metro areas where the virus has hit particularly hard, insight into the independent effects of race and poverty, and policy recommendations.

Targeted, immediate economic relief is essential to prevent needless suffering in the short-term and to ensure that vulnerable communities don’t fall further behind the rest of the nation in the long-term. Because of this, both this map and this report will remain relevant and useful long after the current public health crisis ends. Our hope is that policy-makers and other assistance providers will use these tools to direct aid where it’s needed most.

Discover which communities in your region are most vulnerable with our map, here.

Read the full report, here


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