Updated on: 08/02/2022


COVID-19 in Communities of Color

Note: Hispanic is used to reflect current data collection practices. We acknowledge this may not be the preferred term. Throughout this report, NH refers to Non-Hispanic. People of color refers to individuals identifying as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Unless otherwise noted, adults are ages 18+. Data are most recently available for the specified data source.

Cumulative rate (per 100,000) of confirmed COVID-19 cases by city/town

COVID-19 data as of 04/07/2022. COVID-19 data and analytics will be updated as the pandemic continues.

Rates are calculated using the 2020 UMass Donahue Population Estimates.

Daily updates are found on the COVID-19 Interactive Data Dashboard and more information on disparities among case, hospitalization, and death rates during early phases of the pandemic and DPH collaboration to mitigate pandemic impact can be found at the COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group page.

COVID-19 Case Counts by City/Town

Communities with the highest case rates are primarily in high density population areas and where the majority of residents are people of color.

COVID-19 data as of 04/072022. COVID-19 data and analytics will be updated as the pandemic continues.

Rates are calculated using the 2020 UMass Donahue Population Estimates.

Daily updates are found on the COVID-19 Interactive Data Dashboard and more information on disparities among case, hospitalization, and death rates during early phases of the pandemic and DPH collaboration to mitigate pandemic impact can be found at the COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group page.

Equity Spotlight

In December 2020, vaccinations that protect against severe effects of COVID-19 became available in Massachusetts. DPH followed the Massachusetts COVID-19 Advisory Group recommendation to prioritize communities and populations severely impacted by COVID-19 and selected 20 cities and towns for the Vaccine Equity Initiative. Selection of these communities prioritized those with high case rates as well as the social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Information on the vaccination initiatives and COVID-19 metrics for these communities can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative Data Dashboard.

Download the raw data (accessible version) used to create these visualizations.

Indicator selection

This report gathered equity metrics found throughout DPH published data reports in one common location. When choosing the indicators to feature in this dashboard, we focused on publicly available data and the State Health Assessment (SHA) priority indicators. In some instances proxy measures were used if race/ethnicity data were limited (e.g. Hepatitis B Vaccinations Rates in place of Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Rates). Only indicators that had sufficient data for breakdowns by race/ethnicity were included.

Time-frame for Data Shown

In all cases, the most recent data for each indicator are incorporated. For some topics (e.g. hospitalizations for various causes), only older data are available by race/ethnicity. However, the goal of this dashboard is to capture the current experiences of this priority population. As such, the years of data presented are different for each chart; we opted for the most recent data available over using the same (older) year across all indicators in the report

Race/Ethnicity Group Definition and Data Collection

This report presents race/ethnicity data as it is collected and defined by each source. DPH complies with the the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards and have adapted the recommendations to capture this information. We acknowledge that the race/ethnicity breakdowns presented here may not reflect each group's preferred terms. We recognize that race groups are not monolithic. Grouping into larger categories (e.g. Asian) and grouping Hispanic separately (e.g. Black and Hispanic is not a category in this report) is problematic and may not fully capture the experiences specific groups have. Data on language and disability status are not reflected in this version of the report but we plan to include these in future versions. Detailed information on the specific race/ethnicity group definitions and data collection practices can be found using the links to data sources provided for each chart. The DPH Race/Ethnicity/Language Data Standards Guide provides information on current department wide minimum compliance for collecting, defining, and reporting this information.

Data Suppression

For some charts, race/ethnicity groups may not be shown. This varies by data source and reflects insufficient sample size to support reliable estimates or suppression to protect residents privacy. For more information on the DPH suppression guidelines, please see the Department of Public Health Confidentiality Procedures.

Current Analysis

Unless otherwise noted, the differences between race/ethnicity groups in this report are based on descriptive observations (i.e. estimates are higher or lower than others) and key findings for the data shown in charts do not represent statistically significant differences. Any language that indicates statistical significance is taken directly from reports that have performed these analyses separately from this dashboard. For more information on how analyses were performed and definitions for significance, please see the data source notes provided for each chart.

CI refers to Confidence Interval (if available), which describes the certainty of a value. The Department of Public Health uses a 95% confidence interval.

Future Plans

This initial report focuses on communities of color. Additional dashboards on the other priority populations will be created. We also plan to expand dashboard contents including adding more indicators, updating data currently included, and incorporating intersectionality of populations (e.g. data by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity).

Visual representations of statistical significance and additional analytics to compare differences between groups will also be incorporated.