With the onset of COVID, BARI has sought to construct a data-support system for a city during a pandemic–both to serve our local communities and to act as a model for others across the country. It consists of two main efforts:
The COVID in Boston Database draws from a variety of administrative and social media sources that capture events and conditions across neighborhoods before, during, and after the onset of the pandemic. It includes original records, often with enhanced content, and custom aggregate measures (e.g., neighborhood-level metrics), all contextualized within the Boston Data Portal’s broader geographic structure that allows seamless linkage across data sets. We invite academics, policymakers, practitioners, and community members alike to use the data in their research, teaching, and decision-making.
The Living in Boston during COVID Survey was conducted by BARI, the Center for Survey Research at UMass Boston, and the Boston Public Health Commission, with generous support from the National Science Foundation. It is the only survey in the world to capture disparities in the experiences of, attitudes toward, and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic across the neighborhoods of a city, providing a unique insight into racial and social inequities. We are highlighting the insights from the survey in a series of reports and bite-size data stories.
Read our first report Living in Boston During COVID: Inequities in Navigating a Pandemic, which highlights how some Bostonians were able to alter their daily activities to minimize their exposure to risk and maximize their health–whereas others were not. Also see our data stories on “Who Had to Go to Work”, “Balancing Food Access and Infection Risk”, and “Who Rode Transit and Exercised?”. You can also watch the video describing the report Living in Boston During COVID on our YouTube page. We also invite you to read this Boston Globe article capturing our first report Inequities in Navigating a Pandemic.
Read our second report, Living in Boston During COVID: Fear and Ambivalence, which describes the attitudes and behaviors that might create vulnerabilities for spreading infection in different communities. Also, see our data stories on Attitudes toward Risk & Guidelines: Signs of Ambivalence, High-Risk Behaviors: Acute Neighborhood Differences, Mask Wearing: Self and Others, and Asymptomatic Spread: Fact or Fiction. You can also watch the video describing the report Living in Boston During COVID: Fear and Ambivalence on our YouTube page.
Read our third report, Living in Boston During COVID: Economic Impact, which describes how the pandemic has affected the employment trajectories and economic resources of Boston’s residents. Also, see our data stories on Widespread but Variable, Inequities Reinforced and Exacerbated by Pandemic. You can also watch the video describing the report Living in Boston During COVID: Economic Strain our YouTube page.
Read our fourth report, Living in Boston During COVID-19: Lifestyle, Ideology, Context Drive Attitudes, which provides a precise understanding of the factors that are driving attitudes toward and knowledge about the pandemic, infection risk, and social distancing guidelines. Also, see our data stories on Income and Education: Two Forms of Vulnerability; Household Characteristics: How Lifestyle Impacts Attitudes; and Political Polarization of the Pandemic Exists in Boston, Too. The insights in the report and data stories provide Bostonians and policymakers an understanding of the factors that are driving attitudes toward and knowledge about the pandemic, infection risk, and social distancing guidelines. We also invite you to watch a video on our YouTube page for an in-depth description.
Read our new research brief Evictions and COVID-19: The Responsibility of the Large Landlord analyzing the role of landlords and a pandemic-related “Eviction Tsunami”. The insights found in this brief can inform local, state, and federal response to the current crisis. This brief is a joint collaboration with the Boston Area Research Initiative and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Read our fifth report, Living in Boston During COVID-19: Vaccination Planning and Hesitancy in the Living in Boston During Covid-19 series describes Boston respondents’ intentions to get the COVID-19 vaccine, when available. In this report, we explore personal characteristics associated with Bostonians’ hesitancy to get the vaccine (probably not/definitely not). We also provide information about which respondents are definitely planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, check out our data stories Who’s Planning To Get Vaccinated? and Worries about Infect and Getting Vaccinated. This information may help identify people who are reluctant to get the vaccine and assist efforts to tailor messages to Boston residents who have reservations about the coronavirus vaccine. Check out our report covered in the Boston Globe.
Read our sixth report, Living in Boston During COVID-19: Physical and Mental Health in a series that describes how the pandemic has affected the physical and mental health of Boston’s residents. By examining how these impacts were distributed by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and family composition, we reveal a range of inequities in how different populations have experienced increased health challenges due to the pandemic. Also, see our data stories on Adverse Impact on Physical and Mental health, Mental Health Effects Varied with Health-Related Behaviors and Mental Health Effects Varied with Sociodemographic Characteristics. You can also watch the video describing the report Living in Boston During COVID-19: Physical and Mental Health on our YouTube page.
Read our seventh report, Living in Boston During COVID-19: The Inequitable Consequences-of Vaccination Intentions. In the fifth report in this series, we examined vaccination intentions across communities. Here we extend this work by simulating what these variations mean for infection rates across greater Boston during the vaccination rollout, as well as the attainability of herd immunity. To make the simulation more robust, we incorporate similar data generated by two other surveys conducted around the same time. We allowed the simulation to respond to changing circumstances by permitting those who are “on the fence” or uncertain about vaccination to be persuaded as the level of vaccination in their own community goes up. We otherwise assume that rollout will conform to the three-month timeline laid out by the government for Phase 3 and that vaccine efficacy will match the levels reported by pharmaceutical companies. Read our data stories, How does vaccination unfold across communities? and From inequities in vaccination uptake to disparities in herd immunity. Check out our video describing the 7th report on our YouTube channel.