California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) releases COVID-19 preliminary estimates dashboard

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UCLA CHPR Communications Team

UCLA CHPR's CHIS releases early data on the pandemic's impact on Californians ​13,763 deaths in California. 740,512 cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the research community to create tools to track the reach of the disease and help control its spread. Given its real-time impact, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research just released preliminary monthly statewide estimates of COVID-19 questions in the California Health Interview Survey May 2020 Preliminary COVID-19 Estimates Dashboard.

“When we started to see the impact that COVID-19 was going to have on the community, we felt called to produce data that can be used by decisionmakers on who and how to assist during this unprecedented time,” said Ninez Ponce, director of UCLA CHPR and principal investigator of CHIS.

In May 2020, Californians answered questions such as whether they are experiencing difficulties dealing with COVID-19, with 18.5% of respondents reporting that they continued in an essential job role, 17.7% experiencing reduced job hours and income and 11.2% having financial difficulties with basic needs.  Nearly 22% of adults said they experienced an increase in conflict at home during stay-at-home orders, with larger households and families with children more likely to report increases.

Additional filters, including race and ethnicity, California region, federal poverty level, citizenship status and insurance, provide a more detailed picture of the effects of COVID-19 on Californians. Notably, the dashboard shows the disproportionate financial impact of the pandemic on racial and ethnic groups, including Blacks and Latinos.  10.9% of people lost their jobs, including 21% of Blacks and 14.8% of Latinos as compared to 9.6% of whites, as well as 25% of nonelderly (ages 18-64) uninsured Californians. Financial difficulties with basic necessities impacted 11.2% of those surveyed, with 23.1% of Black people and 15.5% of Latinos reporting difficulties, compared with 6.8% of white people.

Other key findings include:

  • 76.6% of California adults would get a COVID-19 vaccine if available.
  • 5.4% of Asians reported being treated unfairly during the pandemic compared with 2.1% of the total group of adults surveyed.
  • 69% of uninsured Californians who reported in May that they lost their job or had their work hours reduced because of the pandemic said the main reason they were without insurance was because they could not afford it, and 11.4% said the main reason was because they were not eligible for health insurance due to losing their job.
  • 26.5% of those who reported experiencing serious psychological distress in May reported continuing to report to work as an essential worker, while only 15.9% reported switching to working from home. Among those who did not report serious psychological distress in May, 21.7% reported continuing to report to work as an essential worker, while only 28.9% reported switching to working from home.

These responses include over 5,000 surveys from 2020 CHIS participants so far. Other topics covered include COVID-19 testing, hospitalization, and views on vaccination. The estimates presented in the dashboard include data from all surveys completed from the month of May 2020.

“In order to provide timely insights on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time in the survey’s 20-year history that we’re releasing monthly data estimates before our normal annual data release in October of the following year,” said Todd Hughes, CHIS director. “All of the data we’re producing from CHIS aligns with our Center’s mission of democratizing access to impactful and actionable data, and we will continue to provide high-quality data and tools to assist researchers, policymakers, advocacy organizations and other partners in looking at profiles of our diverse population.”

View the story on UCLA Newsroom.


About the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. UCLA CHPR improves the public’s health through high quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that informs effective policymaking. UCLA CHPR is the home of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and is part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health