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Public health group’s survey finds unequal rates of recovery from pandemic

March 18, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The fourth COVID-19 Health Equity survey from Public Health Solutions (PHS), the largest public health nonprofit serving New York City, reveals increased economic pressures and persistent health disparities are driving an unequal pandemic recovery among New Yorkers. 

The survey, conducted online and powered by the Kantar Profiles Audience Network in late February, reached 1,000 New Yorkers of varied income levels from all five boroughs and defines low-income New Yorkers as those with an annual household income under $50,000 and high-income New Yorkers as respondents with an annual household income over $100,000.

Stephane Labossiere, right, with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, hands out masks and printed information about free COVID-19 testing in Brooklyn, being offered by NYC Health + Hospitals, on July 8, 2020, in New York. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Pre-pandemic economic inequities were exacerbated over the last two years, which all play a major role in health and wellbeing, and New Yorkers are now experiencing different levels of economic recovery across income, race, and borough:

       More than half of low-income respondents say that paying for food (56%) and paying for housing (52%) are among their top financial concerns for the year. Comparatively, less than half of high-income respondents had the same concerns: paying for food (42%), paying for housing (37%).

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       Among low-income respondents, 4% of Black respondents say they own their home and do not pay rent, compared to white (16%) and Asian (16%) respondents.

       42% of Queens residents say they’re paying more for rent than last year, compared to Brooklyn (26%), Manhattan (26%) and Staten Island (12%).

       Nearly half of Bronx respondents (44%) reported applying for or using SNAP in the past 6 months, compared to less than a third of respondents in other boroughs. 

“As New York City starts to rebuild and recover from the devastating pandemic, low-income New Yorkers and other under-resourced communities are once again at the risk of being left behind. The survey confirms the appalling persistence of economic and racial inequities, which, if left unaddressed, will thwart the recovery of many neighborhoods,” said Lisa David, president and CEO of Public Health Solutions. 

The survey also found major disparities across income and race when it comes to accessing or using preventative and mental health services:

  • Twelve % of low-income respondents reported they currently do not have health insurance and that they were uninsured before the pandemic. Comparatively, only 7% of high-income respondents reported the same.
  • During the pandemic, there’s been gap across income groups when it comes to maintaining preventative care. Eighty-three % of high-income respondents reported receiving 1 or more annual physical exam during the pandemic. Sixty-seven % of low-income respondents reported receiving 1 or more annual physical exam during the pandemic.
  • Twenty-five % of high-income respondents sought out and/or received in-person therapy since the start of the pandemic; 14% of low-income respondents did the same.
  • Even among racial minorities, Asian New Yorkers have been less likely to seek or use mental health services. Sixty-two % of Asian respondents say they did not seek or receive any mental health services during the pandemic, compared to 46% of Black respondents.

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