Skip to main content
U-M Poverty Solutions Logo U-M Poverty Solutions Logo


Back to faculty research

Disparate Distress:  An Oversample of African Americans and Latinos in the United States for “People and Pandemics: Studying International Coping and Compliance”

The project: The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially damaging to communities of color in the United States. Disproportionate rates of illness and death have combined with higher rates of unemployment, precarious access to medical care, and overburdened supportive services to intensify the impact on Black and Latino individuals, families, and neighborhoods.  An especially important case is Puerto Rico, where a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by severe hurricane damage has decimated the medical system. Yet while the impact of COVID-19 on these communities is widely recognized, there is still very little information about how their members are coping with policy restrictions imposed to stem the pandemic or their views of the pandemic’s origins and potential cures.  

The process: This project aimed to fill this knowledge gap by conducting an online survey of 1,000 Black and Latino respondents in the United States and 500 respondents in Puerto Rico. The survey drew from 10 cities and metro areas selected for the size of their Black and Latino population and for the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Detroit / Highland Park, Michigan; Dearborn, Michigan; New York City; Miami; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles; Chicago; New Orleans; Atlanta; and Houston. 

Results: This targeted sampling will add to findings from the “People and Pandemics: Studying International Coping and Compliance” study led by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at U-M. The goal is to offer insights into the unique experiences of Black and Latino populations related to COVID-19 health impact, attitudes toward vaccination,  employment and income support, and communication network for information about the pandemic. 

Ann Chih Lin, U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Ana Patricia Esqueda, second year PhD student in developmental psychology
Twila Tardif, U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts
Lydwan Perez Westerband, MD student at the University of Puerto Rico