Correlation Between Coronavirus and Minority Population in Westchester Shows Alarming Trend

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Coronavirus cases are highest in areas of Westchester with the highest minority populations – in particular the Latino population.

This finding is based on an analysis of data on positive cases in Westchester run against recent U.S. Census data in what is the first attempt to breakdown the impact of the coronavirus on minority populations at the local level in Westchester County, the nation’s wealthiest County.

Six municipalities in Westchester have a combined Black and Hispanic population over 50%: Mount Vernon (84.03%), Peekskill (66.86%), Yonkers (59.93%), White Plains (55.40), Port Chester (53.91%) and Ossining (53.88%). Those six municipalities (as of 4/18/20) account for 133,170 cases in Westchester County out of a total 297,133 cases or 45% of all cases.

Two relative exceptions of note are Eastchester and Scarsdale both in close proximity to the Containment Zone declared by Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 10th. Tuckahoe, part of Eastchester, fell within the 1 mile radius of the Containment Zone.

In the chart above, Port Chester is aggregated with the rest of the Town of Rye with a lower minority population which explains the dip in the chart. More on that below.

The correlation between COVID-19 cases and demographics for Black residents in Westchester is pronounced in Mount Vernon but not elsewhere in the County.

The correlation between COVID-19 cases and demographics for Hispanic residents in Westchester is pronounced in the vast majority of communities – all but four (Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, Pelham and Eastchester). In 14 of the 19 census areas, the correlation is extremely strong.

The New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health have made data available over the past six weeks during the coronavirus outbreak but there is still a lot the public does not know, especially at the local level: mortality rate data, nursing home data, testing data, breakdowns by demographics and data specific to municipalities. NYS DOH and WCDOH have this data but do not want to make it public.

To address one area of interest — the impact of coronavirus on minority populations in Westchester County — we analyzed data on cases by municipalities provided by the WCDOH and data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Unfortunately, the data sets do not match up so some adjustments were requires. The WCDOH has been releasing case data by municipalities including towns and villages whereas the Census data is based on tracts that include larger political subdivisions within the County.

For example, the Census data does not list separate information for villages in Greenburgh: Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Ardlsley´┐╝, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown, Fairview, Greenville and Hartsdale.

It can get a bit confusing.

It is why Port Chester, with a large number of Hispanic residents appears to have a lower number of cases. The Town of Rye, also the name of the City, tracked separately, contains three villages: Port Chester, Rye Brook and Mamaroneck where the village of Mamaroneck is shared with the Town of Mamaroneck. There is also a portion of Mamaroneck in Rye unofficially called “Rye Neck”. The city of Rye separates Mamaroneck from the rest of the town of Rye. Port Chester is not broken out separately by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Full details on all this here: Westchester County Political Subdivisions

We pulled census data from the Statistical Atlas.

Map of Race and Ethnicity by County Subdivision in Westchester County

To compare apples to apples, we aggregated the WCDOH data into large political subdivisions like Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant, Mamaroneck, Town of Rye then ran our analysis. This is why municipalities like Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Tuckahoe or Irvington appear in the chart. The data for all of then is in there but aggregated to match the WCDOH data with the Census data.

We call on NYS DOH and WCDOH to release the demographic breakdowns for all cases so the public knows what the government knows about the impact on coronavirus.