Effect of poverty in the spread of COVID-19
Exploratory Analysis, Statistical Inference

Effect of poverty in the spread of COVID-19

According to some reports, communities with higher social vulnerability, such as areas with high percentages of people living in crowded housing conditions, are more likely to become Covid-19 hotspots whose residents suffer high levels of adverse health effects.

The goal of this study is to understand how poverty has affected the Covid-19 case rate in the United States. The main research question is:
Does poverty cause Covid-19 infections to spread more rapidly, increasing the number of cases?

To answer this question, an explanatory model relating poverty to Covid-19 infection rates was developed. Results showed that poverty has a significant effect on the case rate per 100,000 population for each state in the United States. Although the analysis did demonstrate the significance of poverty rates, the limitations of the data and methodology might have caused to underestimate the effect of poverty. The poverty rates and case numbers were at the state level. Because both poverty levels and Covid-19 incidence can vary dramatically across a state, an analysis of smaller territories (such as counties) would likely have given a better representation on how poverty has an effect on Covid-19 case rate.

Although this study implies a causal relationship between poverty and the case rate per 100,000 population, these results should be viewed with skepticism. Only causal relationships based on experiments in controlled environments can claim to be true. This causal relationship is based on observational data, where many factors have interfered with the patterns observed in the data. Further research and analysis of the relationship between poverty and the Covid-19 case rate will be necessary to firmly establish this causal link.

- Tools: R Programming language and R Markdown.
- Related documents and code: HERE