Disparities in COVID-19 Outcomes by Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status: A Systematic-Review and Meta-analysis

Shruti Magesh, Daniel John, Wei Tse Li, Yuxiang Li, Aidan Mattingly-App, Sharad Jain, Eric Y. Chang, Weg M. Ongkeko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Importance: COVID-19 has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups, and race and ethnicity have been associated with disease severity. However, the association of socioeconomic determinants with racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes remains unclear. Objective: To evaluate the association of race and ethnicity with COVID-19 outcomes and to examine the association between race, ethnicity, COVID-19 outcomes, and socioeconomic determinants. Data Sources: A systematic search of PubMed, medRxiv, bioRxiv, Embase, and the World Health Organization COVID-19 databases was performed for studies published from January 1, 2020, to January 6, 2021. Study Selection: Studies that reported data on associations between race and ethnicity and COVID-19 positivity, disease severity, and socioeconomic status were included and screened by 2 independent reviewers. Studies that did not have a satisfactory quality score were excluded. Overall, less than 1% (0.47%) of initially identified studies met selection criteria. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed. Associations were assessed using adjusted and unadjusted risk ratios (RRs) and odds ratios (ORs), combined prevalence, and metaregression. Data were pooled using a random-effects model. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main measures were RRs, ORs, and combined prevalence values. Results: A total of 4318929 patients from 68 studies were included in this meta-analysis. Overall, 370933 patients (8.6%) were African American, 9082 (0.2%) were American Indian or Alaska Native, 101793 (2.4%) were Asian American, 851392 identified as Hispanic/Latino (19.7%), 7417 (0.2%) were Pacific Islander, 1037996 (24.0%) were White, and 269040 (6.2%) identified as multiracial and another race or ethnicity. In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, African American individuals (RR, 3.54; 95% CI, 1.38-9.07; P =.008) and Hispanic individuals (RR, 4.68; 95% CI, 1.28-17.20; P =.02) were the most likely to test positive for COVID-19. Asian American individuals had the highest risk of intensive care unit admission (RR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.60-2.34, P <.001). The area deprivation index was positively correlated with mortality rates in Asian American and Hispanic individuals (P <.001). Decreased access to clinical care was positively correlated with COVID-19 positivity in Hispanic individuals (P <.001) and African American individuals (P <.001). Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, members of racial and ethnic minority groups had higher risks of COVID-19 positivity and disease severity. Furthermore, socioeconomic determinants were strongly associated with COVID-19 outcomes in racial and ethnic minority populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2134147
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 11 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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