Are Older Populations at a Disadvantage? County-Level Analysis of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Urban and Rural America

Seung Won Emily Choi, Tse Chuan Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study examines how areas with different older population compositions are affected by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and whether urban and rural counties face different challenges. METHODS: Applying negative binomial regression to a data set of U.S. counties (N = 3,042), we estimated the relationship between older population ratios and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and how this relationship changes over time in urban and rural counties, respectively. RESULTS: Although low-ratio counties show the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, confirmed cases in high-ratio counties (>25% of the total population is aged 65 and older) increase exponentially with time in urban areas. High-ratio rural counties hit their peak later and recover more slowly compared to low- and medium-ratio rural counties. DISCUSSION: Both urban and rural counties with larger older populations are more vulnerable and their disadvantages in COVID-19 infections are more rapidly exacerbated over time in urban areas. This underscores the importance of early action in those counties for effective intervention and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e93-e98
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2021

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Coronavirus
  • Pandemic
  • Urban–rural variations

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