The COVID Racial Data Tracker

Boston University — Goal 2 Initiative The COVID Racial Data Tracker

The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research and the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, with a goal of gathering the most complete and up-to-date race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the United States to shine a light on ethnic differences in public health outcomes. Nationwide, COVID-19 has affected Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color the most. Death rates among Black people are 1.4 times the rate of white people and account for 15% of COVID-19 deaths where race is known. Our initiative also shines a light on ethnic differences at the local level: of the top 5 counties by infection rates, only 1 is predominantly non-white, but of the top 5 counties by mortality rates, 3 are predominantly non-white (2 of these 3 are predominantly black). 

Initiative Differentiators

The initiative began by collecting race and ethnicity data from every state that reported it, and in April 2020, launched that data set as the first iteration of the COVID Racial Data Tracker, which was updated twice weekly through Spring 2021, when the project concluded. It is currently the most complete race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the country, encompassing 51 US States and Territories, with views on racial differences in cases, deaths, tests, and hospitalizations. 

Key Interventions and Milestones

Key activities include collecting, cross-checking, and publishing COVID-19 data from 51 US states and territories. While other data sources focus on case counts (positive tests) and deaths, the focus of this initiative is to get more complete testing data and analyze that data by race and ethnicity.

Expected Impact

Through shining a spotlight on ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes, the initiative can provide actionable data to community leaders and researchers alike, and provide a much-needed lens into ethnic differences in public health outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities, and other people of color.