Public Health Solutions survey reveals that race, income, and location of New Yorkers determine vastly different levels of economic recovery from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK, NY – March 16, 2022 – 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. Moreover, significant vaccination disparities persist across income and race, despite the year-long availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults and the recent availability for children 5 and older. As a rising cost of living brings greater economic pressure to New Yorkers – including skyrocketing rents – it’s clear that low-income New Yorkers and other under resourced communities are increasingly facing an excessive burden on fulfilling their basic needs.

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.

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%).
  • Low-income Black New Yorkers will be disproportionately affected by rising rents and housing instability. 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.

The timing of New York City’s lifting of pandemic restrictions is likely to hurt low-income communities and Black New Yorkers who are still reporting lower Covid-19 vaccination rates:

  • 16% of low-income respondents have not been vaccinated yet, compared to only 5% of high-income respondents.
  • 23% of Black respondents say they haven’t received any vaccine shots yet, compared to only 8% of white respondents, 8% of Asian respondents, and 11% of Hispanic respondents.
  • 65% of high-income respondents say their child(ren) has been fully vaccinated, compared to 31% of low-income respondents.

“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. “To ensure an equitable path to recovery, the city must continue investing in community outreach and closing existing gaps before they grow even wider.”

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

  • 12% 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. 83% of high-income respondents reported receiving 1 or more annual physical exam during the pandemic. 67% of low-income respondents reported receiving 1 or more annual physical exam during the pandemic.
  • 25% 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. 62% 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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About Public Health Solutions

Health disparities among New Yorkers are large, persistent and increasing. Public Health Solutions exists to change that trajectory and support underserved New Yorkers and their families in achieving optimal health and building pathways to reach their potential. As the largest public health nonprofit serving New York City, we improve health outcomes and help communities thrive by providing services directly to low-income families, supporting community-based organizations through our long-standing public-private partnerships, and bridging the gap between healthcare and community services. We focus on a wide range of public health issues including food and nutrition, health insurance, maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, tobacco control, and HIV/AIDS. Learn more about our work at

About Kantar

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