Racial Disparities in Premature Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This analysis examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by race and ethnicity through the lens of premature mortality, using the measures of premature mortality rate and years of life lost among excess deaths that occurred during the pandemic.

While the pandemic has had devastating effects across all racial and ethnic groups, we find significant racial disparities in premature death during the pandemic. Consistent with pre-pandemic trends, some communities of color faced higher premature death rates during the pandemic than their White counterparts. For all groups of color, though, the pandemic was associated with a steeper increase in the premature death rate than for White people.

The analysis is available through the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub that monitors and assesses the performance of the U.S. health system.

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