You’re more likely to contract COVID if you’re poor

“It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure, it’s the poor wot gets the blame. It’s the same the whole world over, ain’t it all a crying shame)? “

In most areas of life the more moolah you have the more choices you have and the more benefits will potentially accrue to you. You can see this as aspirational or shocking depending on your own position relative to others now and in the future.

When it comes to vulnerability to COVID many factors play a part including age and how fit and healthy you are generally. Wealth appears to be one of the factors.

The relationship between wealth and health is both intuitively obvious and born out by the facts. The rich live longer than the poor. This seems also to apply to vulnerability to COVID. To explore this for London I have done some research into two variables and the correlation between them. (1) Income and (2) COVID cases.

For each of the 33 London boroughs I have taken published hard data for average income per borough and compared this with recent (January 2021) published COVID case data. The latter shows COVID cases per capita by Borough to rule out distortions from the different population sizes of the boroughs.

The five “richest” boroughs are Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Camden, Wandsworth and Richmond. The five boroughs with the lowest incidence of COVID are exactly the same. The five “poorest” boroughs are Hounslow, Harrow, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Brent. The five boroughs with the highest incidence of COVID are the same except that Ealing replaces Harrow.

Across all 33 boroughs the correlation coefficient between income and COVID rate is .841. This is not a perfect correlation but it is close. There are one or two anomalies – Tower Hamlets, for example, is comparatively wealthy (11th) but is in the top ten worst COVID boroughs but across the city there is a clear relationship almost everywhere.

Obviously I am not suggesting a direct cause and effect. Lower income jobs are likely to be in the service sector where human contact is likely to be more frequent than in higher paid jobs which have the potential to work from home. The demographics of boroughs are different. But the basic premise at the beginning of these piece holds good. You’re more likely to contract COVID if you’re poor.

One thought on “You’re more likely to contract COVID if you’re poor

  1. Agree most fair-minded analysts would also. The other factor is education. The better-educated gain more access to the professions and become therefore richer. In addition the better the education the more common sense you have. At least in theory but there are many au contraire examples. In general, education is everything since good things naturally follow.
    These are the basic incentives in life. A mark of a decent society is how it helps they who struggle to take advantage of them. Not simply ignore them and leave people to their fate.


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