Skip to main content
King County logo

Locally and across the United States, social and economic inequities have placed certain communities at higher risk of COVID-19. Public Health - Seattle & King County developed a social and economic risk index (SERI) to examine social and economic disparities in COVID-19 outcomes. This dashboard shows the index at census tract-level for King County.

Higher scores on SERI indicate communities with higher levels of social and economic risk, and lower scores indicate lower levels of risk.

Tips for interpreting the data in this dashboard

PHSKC developed the Social and Economic Risk Index (SERI) to identify communities that may be placed at greater risk of COVID-19 due to social and economic factors in King County. The SERI score combines the following six factors comprising variables from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey:

  • Race/ethnicity, language, and place of birth:
    • Percent of population who are people of color;
    • Percent of limited English-speaking households; and
    • Percent of population born outside the US;
  • Median number of occupants per household;
  • Percent of adults in essential healthcare-related occupations;
  • Percent of adults in essential non-healthcare occupations;*
  • Percent of adults age 25+ with less than a college degree;
  • Percent of households with income less than 200% of federal poverty limit.

*Based on definitions from ACLU of Massachusetts: https://www.aclum.org/en/publications/data-show-covid-19-hitting-essential-workers-and-people-color-hardest

  • Residents who were born outside the U.S. or who speak limited English may face challenges accessing healthcare and essential information needed to reduce exposure to or severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Due to historic and ongoing systemic racism and discrimination, people in certain race and ethnic groups experience worse social, economic, and health outcomes1,2, which may place these groups at higher risk of COVID-19. In particular, communities that have been subject to systemic racism may experience:
    • higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 due to being disproportionately employed in essential public-facing occupations1,3;
    • higher risk for severe illness COVID-19 due to higher prevalence of preexisting health conditions4;
    • higher risk for economic and social consequences due to lower average wealth and access to resources such as health insurance.5
  • Households with more occupants may have higher risk of within-household transmission of COVID-19.5
  • Workers in essential occupations, including healthcare and non-healthcare workers, may face higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to interactions with the public and coworkers, limited personal protective equipment, or limited ability to reduce exposure (e.g. no sick leave, inadequate space to allow distancing within workplaces).1,4
  • People in households with lower income may have limited resources for food, housing, medical care, and other basic needs that can help them stay healthy and reduce COVID-19 risk. As education levels are also correlated with income and occupation type, people with lower levels of education may have less access to jobs, income, or resources that allow them to reduce COVID-19 risk.

1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/racism-disparities/index.html
2. https://www.communitiescount.org/blog/2020/12/8/racism-has-always-been-a-public-health-issue
3. https://www.epi.org/blog/who-are-essential-workers-a-comprehensive-look-at-their-wages-demographics-and-unionization-rates/
4. https://www.communitiescount.org/health-disparities-dashboard
5. https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/11/25/where-is-covid-19-transmitted-in-king-county-report-shows-most-common-exposure-settings-are-homes-workplaces-community-and-social-gatherings/

Using data from the Washington Disease Reporting System, we estimate age-adjusted COVID-19 testing, positivity, hospitalization, and death rates for all census tracts in King County. We modeled the relationship between SERI and each COVID-19 outcome and estimated rates and relative risks to compare census tracts with high, moderate, and low social and economic risk factors.

See the Notes and Sources tab for more details or read the technical report for a complete description of the methods, analysis, and key takeaways.

Click on the icon buttons or the tabs at the top of the dashboard to navigate between pages. The first tab shows a map of the SERI by census tract, as well as each of the factors that comprise the index. The next two tabs include maps to compare side by side how the SERI, COVID-19 tests, positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths vary across King County census tracts.

The fourth tab compares the rates and relative risk for each COVID outcome by level of social and economic risk. It includes the overall SERI as well as each individual factor to show which factors have the strongest relationships with COVID-19 tests and outcomes. The last tab allows users to explore the data to view how the relationship between SERI and COVID outcomes have varied over time throughout the pandemic.

See the Notes and Sources tab for more details or read the technical report for a complete description of the methods, analysis, and key takeaways.

Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) has used information from the SERI to support COVID-19 planning and decision-making, such as to inform testing and vaccination site locations and to prioritize confirmed COVID-19 cases for contact tracing and case investigation during surges.
Additional uses for this information could include:

  • Policymaking, planning and decision-making regarding resource allocation (testing, contact tracing, care coordination, vaccinations)
  • Quantifying the impact of specific social or economic factors on COVID-19 disparities to provide evidence for qualitative observations
  • Informing emergency preparedness planning and policies to mitigate the impact of social and economic risks in the case of future disease outbreaks and emergencies
  • Advocating for social and economic policies to reduce and eliminate inequities

Use the tabs along the top to navigate the dashboard. Hover your cursor over the dashboard to view details about the data.