Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
7 May 2020updated 29 Jul 2021 11:04am

Black people four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people, ONS figures show

By Michael Goodier

Black men and women are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white men and women, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

The ONS analysed the ethnicity, age and social background of all 17,866 people to die from Covid-19 in England and Wales up to 10 April. It found that after adjusting for age, black men were 4.2 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white men, and black women were 4.3 times more likely to die than white women.

After adjusting for socio-economic factors, geography, levels of deprivation, and whether the people who died were already disabled or in ill-health, black males and females were still 1.9 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white males and females. 

Other ethnic groups were also significantly more vulnerable than the white majority, after adjusting for age. People in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups were about 3.5 times more likely to die, while those in the Indian group were about 2.5 times more likely.

Odds of death ratio chart, accounting for age Odds of death ratio chart, accounting for socio-economic factors Several factors might account for the gap, which the ONS did not examine in detail. Certain ethnic groups might be over-represented in public-facing occupations, or “key worker” roles that have not been locked down. They might also be more likely to suffer from diseases that increase susceptibility to Covid-19, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

The study used data from the 2011 Census, meaning it might not accurately match the increasing ethnic diversity of the population in 2020.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them