Term of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Gulzar Shah

Committee Member 1

William Mase

Committee Member 2

Hani Samawi

Committee Member 3

Rita Adeniran

Committee Member 3 Email


Non-Voting Committee Member

Rita Adeniran


The Association of Demographic Characteristics and Social Vulnerability With COVID-19 Outcomes


Gloria Boone

(Under the Direction of Gulzar Shah)


This research explored 102 Illinois counties' COVID-19 data to determine whether demographic characteristics and social vulnerability are associated with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 infections and deaths. COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting vulnerable groups and has been deadlier for African American and Hispanic people. The findings of this research will contribute to the knowledge base regarding social vulnerability and assist public health officials in targeting resources and designing interventions. This study used a retrospective cross-sectional design to assess demographic characteristics of race, gender, ethnicity, and social vulnerability to the increased likelihood of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Multiple regression was performed to assess COVID-19 outcomes with race, ethnicity, and gender. Results of the study found a positive association for COVID-19 infections with race, gender, minority status, poverty level, per capita income, children 17 and younger, disability status, and multi-unit housing. Results of the study also found positive associations for COVID-19 deaths in race, gender, minority status, English proficiency, poverty level, per capita income, children 17 and younger, households with a disability, and multi-unit housing.

INDEX WORDS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Ethnicity, Health disparities, SARS-CoV-2, Severe acute respiratory syndrome infection, Social vulnerability, Social vulnerability index

Research Data and Supplementary Material