Evidence of Social and Structural COVID-19 Disparities by Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Race/Ethnicity in an Urban Environment

Megan M. Ruprecht*, Xinzi Wang, Amy K. Johnson, Jiayi Xu, Dylan Felt, Siobhan Ihenacho, Patrick Stonehouse, Caleb W. Curry, Catherine DeBroux, Diogo Costa, Gregory Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread social, psychological, and economic impacts. However, these impacts are not distributed equally: already marginalized populations, specifically racial/ethnic minority groups and sexual and gender minority populations, may be more likely to suffer the effects of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Resiliency Survey was conducted by the city of Chicago to assess the impact of COVID-19 on city residents in the wake of Chicago’s initial lockdown, with particular focus on the experiences of minority populations. Chi-square tests of independence were performed to compare COVID-19-related outcomes and impacts on heterosexual vs. sexual minority populations, cisgender vs. gender minority populations, and White vs. racial/ethnic minority subgroups. Marginalized populations experienced significant disparities in COVID-19 exposure, susceptibility, and treatment access, as well as in psychosocial effects of the pandemic. Notably, Black and Latinx populations reported significant difficulties accessing food and supplies (p = 0.002). Healthcare access disparities were also visible, with Black and Latinx respondents reporting significantly lower levels of access to a provider to see if COVID-19 testing would be appropriate (p = 0.013), medical services (p = 0.001), and use of telehealth for mental health services (p = 0.001). Sexual minority respondents reported significantly lower rates of using telehealth for mental health services (p = 0.011), and gender minority respondents reported significantly lower levels of primary care provider access (p = 0.016). There are evident COVID-19 disparities experienced in Chicago especially for Black, Latinx, sexual minority, and gender minority groups. A greater focus must be paid to health equity, including providing increased resources and supplies for affected groups, adapting to inequities in the built environment, and ensuring adequate access to healthcare services to ameliorate the burden of COVID-19 on these marginalized populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Health disparities
  • Pandemic response
  • Racial/ethnic minority populations
  • Sexual and gender minority populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Urban Studies


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