Neighborhood Inequality in Shelter-in-Place Burden: Impacts of COVID-19 in Los Angeles

Across the United States, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed and deepened race and class inequalities. What is less known is how these inequalities are manifested at the level of neighborhoods. This report, a collaboration between Ong & Associates and the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, examines the vulnerability of low-income and minority neighborhoods in Los Angeles by shelter-in-place mandates. The restrictions are necessary to “flatten the curve” to prevent overwhelming the health system. Unfortunately, this policy has unintended consequences for disadvantaged communities. This Neighborhood Inequality report shows that real and disproportionately high burdens of shelter-in-place are being borne by these communities. Pioneering a Shelter-in-Place-Burden Index, the report has significant implications for the policy interventions that will be needed to address such burdens. This is not the time to yield to the relatively few clamoring for an opening of the U.S. economy, without regard for the spread of the coronavirus. It is the time that we recognize and close the socioeconomic gap through actions that ensure fairness and justice.

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