|The inequitable burden of the COVID-19 pandemic among marginalized older workers in the United States: an intersectional approach.
|Year of Publication
|Andrea, SB, Eisenberg-Guyot, J, Blaikie, KJ, Owens, S, Oddo, VM, Peckham, T, Minh, A, Hajat, A
|The Journals of Gerontology, Series B
|COVID-19, Employment, Inequities, Intersectionality
OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the lives of people globally, widening longstanding inequities. We examined the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on employment conditions by race/ethnicity, gender, and educational attainment and the association between such conditions and well-being in older adults in the United States.
METHODS: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study respondents interviewed between May 2020 and May 2021 when they were ≥55 years of age, we examined intersectional patterns in COVID-19-related changes in employment conditions among 4,107 participants working for pay at the start of the pandemic. We also examined the compounding nature of changes in employment conditions and their association with financial hardship, food insecurity, and poor self-rated health.
RESULTS: Relative to non-Hispanic White men with greater than high school education (>HS), Black and Latinx men and women were more likely to experience job loss irrespective of education; among those who did not experience job loss, men with ≤HS reporting Black, Latinx, or "other" race were >90% less likely to transition to remote work. Participants who experienced job loss with decreased income or continued in-person employment with decreased income/shift changes had greater prevalence of financial hardship, food insecurity, and poor/fair self-rated health than others.
DISCUSSION: The impact of COVID-19 on employment conditions is inequitably patterned and is associated with financial hardship, food insecurity, and adverse health in older adults. Policies to improve employment quality and expand social insurance programs among this group are needed to reduce growing inequities in well-being later in life.