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    Access to outdoor space, overcrowding, precarious finances and insecure employment are all factors which can cause households to be more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19. New research by CPC members Julia Mikolai, Katherine Keenan and Hill Kulu, at the Population and Health Research Group at University of St Andrews, found that certain types of households were particularly at risk of both short and long-term socio-economic or health problems which could be made worse by the virus.

    The study examined Understanding Society data collected from around 19,500 households making up a cross section of UK society. They used multiple household-level indicators and principal components analysis to examine different levels of household vulnerabilities: health, employment, housing, financial and digital.

    Covid-19-specific heath risks and socio-economic vulnerabilities co-occur among households in the UK. However, the team found that working-age households are more likely to face financial, housing and employment uncertainties, and retirement-age households are more vulnerable when it comes to health and access to modern technology.

    They also found that there are area-level differences in the distribution of vulnerabilities across the United Kingdom. Households in London and Scotland are more vulnerable to digital and housing risks than other regions of the UK. Northern Irish households are more likely to be vulnerable to precarious financial situations.

    Dr Katherine Keenan believes the findings, which imply that the short and long-term consequences of the Covid-19 crisis are likely to vary by household type, can be used to create targeted policies: “Policy measures should consider how vulnerabilities cluster together across different household types, and how the Covid-19 pandemic may exacerbate already existing societal inequalities.”

    Dr Julia Mikolai added: “Taken together, the findings suggest that policy measures which aim to mitigate the adverse effects of Covid-19 should not only consider health vulnerabilities at the individual level. They also need to factor in household structure and household-level disadvantages, such as poor housing conditions, economic insecurity, and no access to modern technology.”

    The preprint paper of this new research can be found online at SocArXiv.

    Posted 05/05/2020 17:42