COVID-19 Cases in New York City, a Neighborhood-Level Analysis

Blog post by the Furman Center team
April 10, 2020

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy   (New York)

The Furman Center investigated why communities across New York City—the hardest hit city in the US so far—are experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak so differently, revealing the social inequities leaving some New Yorkers more vulnerable to infection and death than others.

The Furman Center found:

  • Hardest hit neighborhoods have lower median incomes, higher shares of residents who are Black or Hispanic, and higher shares of residents under the age of 18 relative to less affected neighborhoods.
  • Residents of these neighborhoods are less likely to be able to work from home, disproportionately rely on public transit during the crisis, and are less likely to have internet access.
  • Areas with higher numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases have lower population density, yet they do have higher rates of overcrowding at the household level.
  • To date, the Bronx has seen the highest rate of deaths per capita from the virus—a community with higher rates of underlying health conditions that increase risk and more limited access to health care.
  • Citywide data confirm that mortality rates due to COVID-19 are highest among Hispanic, Black, and non-Hispanic/Latino Other populations.


The Furman Center’s analysis further examines social and economic differences between the neighborhoods with the highest and lowest incidence of COVID-19 cases.

Note: the number of positive cases is clearly an undercount: testing for the coronavirus has been limited, and the prevalence of testing likely varies across different areas, meaning that the undercount may be higher in some neighborhoods than others.