People of SU / Science, Technology and Health

Seattle U in the News: Who is Getting COVID-19 in King County?

July 31, 2020

Share this

People of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the trend when associated with income wasn't much of a surprise to Jodi O'Brien, a sociology professor at Seattle University.

A SeattlePI analysis of case data for each King County zip code, and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that throughout the county, zip codes with higher percentages of Latino residents on average had higher rates of cases. The same was found for zip codes with higher percentages of Black residents, while the trend reversed for those with higher percentages of white residents.

Excerpts from the story:

The trend of cases when associated with income wasn't much of a surprise to Jodi O'Brien, a sociology professor at Seattle University. She said because of Seattle's entrenched geographic segregation, income and race are always cross-tabbed when looking at data like this.

Largely, lower-income neighborhoods and cities have had higher cases per 100,000 throughout the pandemic. There have been outliers, as the zip code with the highest rate of cases was 98134 which represents the Industrial District. While the neighborhood's median income isn't among the lowest, it should be noted how few people live there, which was 675 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The zip code with the second highest cases per 100,000 was 98168, which had the fifth-lowest median income, and is comprised of chunks from Highline, Tukwila and Burien.

“Income is usually pretty strongly correlated with lifestyle choices. If you live in a single family home, you don’t have to use the shared laundry room, you don’t have to use the shared stairwell. You only have to go to the grocery store once every other week because you have a larger refrigerator," O'Brien said. “Denser living is what you would call it, living in a housing situation where you have roommates or other family members.”

Share this