Grounding State Contact Tracing Efforts in Context

The following data is presented in partnership between the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and Mathematica.

As an essential part of a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing programs must be responsive to the unique circumstances of individual states. Census data offer important insights that go beyond basic infection rates; they provide critical context that can help to ensure a contact tracing effort that is right-sized and made more effective by a deeper understanding of factors that impact the spread of the infection.

  • Population, Geography, Density: Population size and density can inform the size and scale of the contact tracing program and its workforce.
  • Age, Sex, Race and Ethnicity, Income and Poverty: Specific population groups, such as older adults, communities of color, and individuals experiencing poverty often have higher rates of infection, as well as more complex needs for effectively isolating.

Census data provide an opportunity to better understand the overall composition of the state so that those designing and implementing contact tracing programs are able to reach vulnerable populations, deploy specialized supports, and more effectively stop the spread of the coronavirus.

[1] Excluding rural and urban percent population, all population information came from the United States Census Bureau QuickFacts available here: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219. Percent urban and rural population came from the 2010 Census and can be found here: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/geography/guidance/geo-areas/urban-rural/2010-urban-rural.html. Please note that for the 2010 Census, urban areas consisted of at least 2,500 people with at least 1,500 residing outside of institutional group quarters.