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Neighbourhood Level COVID-19 Mortality in London: Technical paper for London's Poverty Profile

Author: WPI Economics

This short analysis, produced by Trust for London's economic partner WPI Economics, considers the relationship between neighbourhood level COVID-19 mortality in London and deprivation. It provides technical insight into the model that they have created and the challenges of drawing conclusions from the available data.

The Government, Office for National Statistics (ONS) and others have stepped up to produce new statistics, datasets and surveys throughout the COVID-19 period, some of the household surveys are also changing their approach to make data available more quickly, and a host of innovative data sources are beginning to be explored.

The team behind London’s Poverty Profile (LPP) are committed to supporting this work. As new data becomes available, where feasible, we will include it on LPP. We will also undertake our own analysis to understand how the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have been impacted by, and could contribute to, the nature of poverty and inequality in the Capital. This is the first of our analyses in this space - it considers how COVID-19 mortality in London varies by neighbourhood characteristics, including deprivation, age and ethnicity.

After accounting for a range of other neighbourhood characteristics that are related to both COVID-19 mortality and deprivation, the analysis finds:

  • Even after controlling for a wide range of other neighbourhood measures, the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods saw, on average, 23 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 than the least deprived 20% of neighbourhoods.
  • The most important neighbourhood factor overall was the count of residents aged 65 or older. Areas with ‘high’ numbers of over 65s would be expected to have 25 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 than those with ‘low’ numbers of over 65s.
  • The impact of higher numbers of care home residents is also large (21 more COVID-19 deaths for areas with high numbers of care home residents compared to low).
  • Ethnicity was important independently of other factors, particularly neighbourhoods with high numbers of Black and Asian residents. Neighbourhoods with ‘high’ numbers of Asian residents would be expected to experience 9 more COVID-19 deaths per 100,000, and those with ‘high’ numbers of Black residents 13 more deaths compared to neighbourhoods with‘low’ numbers of each ethnicity.
  • Neighbourhoods with higher numbers of residents working in sales and customer service occupations, and those with higher number of children aged 0-14 had lower COVID-19 mortality when controlling for other factors.

These findings provide vital insights into the links between COVID-19 mortality and a range of neighbourhood characteristics; particularly with regard to ethnicity, deprivation and age. They also show the complex nature of these relationships and the complex analysis needed to unpick them. Importantly, the analysis also shows the need for more data and more research: the measures we have at neighbourhood level explain just 35% of the variation in COVID-19 mortality - i.e. the majority of influencing factors (65%) are not captured in the data.

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24 July 2020

Neighbourhood Level COVID-19 Mortality in London: Technical paper for London's Poverty Profile