Mental and financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City was severe, but how vulnerable groups have been disproportionately impacted is incompletely understood. In partnership with community stakeholders, we administered a web-based survey to a convenience sample of New York City residents (18 + years) from May 2020 to April 2021 to evaluate their financial and emotional stressors. We analyzed outcomes by race, ethnicity, and education level. A total of 1854 adults completed the survey across three consecutive non-overlapping samples. Fifty-five percent identified other than non-Latinx White. Sixty-four percent reported emotional stress; 38%, 32%, and 32% reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder respectively; and 21% reported a large adverse financial impact. The leading unmet needs were mental health and food services (both 19%), and health services (18%). Need for both resources grew over time. Adverse financial impact directly correlated with presence of all four adverse mental health outcomes above. In multivariate analysis, non-White race and lack of college degree were associated with adverse financial impact, whereas LGBT identity and lack of college degree were associated with mental health impact. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, participants in this research demonstrated a large and growing mental and financial strain, disproportionately associated with lower education level, non-White race, and LGBT status. Our findings suggest an urgent need to differentially target COVID-19 mental health and resource support in New York City to persons in these vulnerable communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of racial and ethnic health disparities
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Health disparities
  • Mental health
  • Social determinants of health


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