NYC Neighborhoods Where COVID-19 Hit Hardest

Testing center at Elmhurst Hospital during outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York
A COVID-19 testing center at Elmhurst Hospital during the outbreak in Queens.
Reuters/ Eduardo Muñoz

A new study has taken a look at which communities in New York City are being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC), examined communities that have had the most coronavirus-related deaths and compared that to data on labor, housing overcrowding, English proficiency, health insurance, and the concentration of children available from the New York State and New York City health departments.

The breakdown of coronavirus positive test results by zip code across the city.New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

According to the findings, as of April 5 the highest rate of positive of COVID-19 tests — using data by zip code — were in western or southeast Queens. Two western Queens zip codes had the most cases: the 11368 and 11369 zip codes yielded a 77.7 percent rate of positive coronavirus tests and a 75.1 percent rate, respectively. Following close behind is southeast Queens’ 11411 zip code, with a 73.6 percent rate of positive tests.

Several other zip codes in the city also saw high rate of positive COVID-19 tests, including Brooklyn’s 11219 (Borough Park, at 69.1 percent), 11237 (Bushwick and Williamsburg, at 67.2 percent), and the Bronx’s 10468 (Bronx Park and Fordham, at 66.6 percent). According to CCC, many of the areas that have high COVID-19 positive tests have higher poverty rates when compared to the rest of the city.

Zip codes with the highest rate of positive COVID-19 test results.Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York

The study also found that the communities that have been affected by coronavirus the most have been predominantly Black or Latinx. According to the data, more than half of residents in the western Queens zip codes are Latinx, and more than half of residents in southeast Queens zip code are Black. Preliminary data also shows that deaths from coronavirus among Latinx  (34 percent of the total) and Black (28% in total) patients are disproportionate to those groups’ share of the total city population. Latinx residents account for 29 percent of city residents, and Blacks make up 22 percent.

The percentage of hospitality industry and healthcare employment in several areas with high rates of positive tests.Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York

The study also took a look at which areas in New York City had the highest risk because of of the type of employment residents have. According to the study, about one in five residents in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona work in hospitality, accommodations, and restaurants, while one in five workers in Jamaica, St. Albans, and Queens Village work in healthcare. Both occupational categories make workers more vulnerable to contract COVID-19 or transmit it to their families and other close contacts.

Those who live in areas where overcrowding is common are also more at risk for contracting COVID-19. According to the study, those living in areas with higher rates of overcrowded rental housing, meaning there is more than one person per room, such as Jackson Heights (where 25.7 percent of rental units are classified as overcrowded), Elmhurst/ Corona (25.3 percent), and Borough Park (24.7 percent) have high rates of positive coronavirus tests.

The degree of housing overcrowding in select neighborhoods with high COVID-19 test results.Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York

The study also found that areas with high concentrations of families where no one over the age of five speaks English “very well” — and so might not have easy access to information about the virus — had more cases of positive COVID-19 tests. Several of these communities, including Jackson Heights and Elmhurst/ Corona, also contain a disproportionate rate of adults who do not have health insurance.

Finally, the report took a look at the number of children 17 or younger in communities with high rates of COVID-19 positive test results to assess how many youths could be affected by the loss of a parent. Among the highest COVID-19 positive communities with the most amount of children (aged 0 to 17 years old) include Jamaica/ St. Albans with 54,132 children, Borough Park with 50,224 children, and Canarsie with 46,656 children.

Click here to read the full study.