To examine excess mortality among minorities in California during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average time series, we estimated counterfactual total deaths using historical data (2014–2019) of all-cause mortality by race/ethnicity. Estimates were compared to pandemic mortality trends (January 2020 to January 2021) to predict excess deaths during the pandemic for each race/ethnic group.
Our findings show a significant disparity among minority excess deaths, including 7892 (24.6% increase), 4903 (20.4%), 30,186 (47.7%), and 22,027 (12.6%) excess deaths, including deaths identified as COVID-19-related, for Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White non-Hispanic individuals, respectively. Estimated increases in all-cause deaths excluding COVID-19 deaths were 1331, 1436, 3009, and 5194 for Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White non-Hispanic individuals, respectively. However, the rate of excess deaths excluding COVID-19 recorded deaths per 100 k was disproportionately high for Black (66 per 100 k) compared to White non-Hispanic (36 per 100 k). The rates for Asians and Hispanics were 23 and 19 per 100 k.
Our findings emphasize the importance of targeted policies for minority populations to lessen the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on their communities.