Publicly available federal race and ethnicity COVID-19 data is currently usable and improving, although it shares many of the problems we’ve found in state-reported data.
Why Some States Won’t Share Race and Ethnicity Data on Vaccinations with the CDC—and Why That’s a Problem
We sent requests for data-use agreements to 56 states and territories to learn what vaccination data was being shared with the federal government. We found that several states—including California and Texas—aren’t sharing race and ethnicity data on vaccinations with the CDC, citing patient privacy laws. In better news, most states are.
We know COVID-19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color the most. But we need more and more standardized data to truly understand the impact to these communities—and to mitigate those disparities.
Only a third of states and territories with public vaccine data share information on the race and ethnicity of vaccine recipients, and those that do share it do so in highly unstandardized ways. But data from the federal government could answer the question of who’s getting vaccinated.
The federal government seems poised to provide high-quality data on vaccinations, but even a minimal dataset must answer key questions about who is getting vaccinated.
Our new data collection tracks the spread of COVID-19 in 65 cities and counties across the United States, and it lets us see how fatality rates vary widely across geographies.
We track and analyze data from cities and counties, including breakdowns by race, ethnicity, and ZIP code when possible. The differences we find between cities, counties, and states give useful insights into response efforts.
Even with significant data unreported, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color is clear.
Early COVID-19 Race Data Shows Disproportionate Loss of Black Lives—It's Time for States to Release the Rest of the Data
We're still missing vital race and ethnicity data, but where the data is strongest—official COVID-19 death rates—the toll of longstanding public health inequities within Black communities is painfully clear. Five months into the US outbreak, several states are still not collecting or releasing complete demographic data required to address these disparities and safely re-open state economies. It's time for this to change.
The COVID-19 pandemic isn't affecting all communities the same way. That's why we're partnering with American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center to launch a new project: the COVID Racial Data Tracker.