Validation of a neighborhood-level COVID Local Risk Index in 47 large U.S. cities

Ben R. Spoer, Edwin McCulley, Taylor M. Lampe, Pei Yang Hsieh, Alexander Chen, Rebecca Ofrane, Heather Rollins, Lorna E. Thorpe, Usama Bilal, Marc N. Gourevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To present the COVID Local Risk Index (CLRI), a measure of city- and neighborhood-level risk for SARS COV-2 infection and poor outcomes, and validate it using sub-city SARS COV-2 outcome data from 47 large U.S. cities. Methods: Cross-sectional validation analysis of CLRI against SARS COV-2 incidence, percent positivity, hospitalization, and mortality. CLRI scores were validated against ZCTA-level SARS COV-2 outcome data gathered in 2020–2021 from public databases or through data use agreements using a negative binomial model. Results: CLRI was associated with each SARS COV-2 outcome in pooled analysis. In city-level models, CLRI was positively associated with positivity in 11/14 cities for which data were available, hospitalization in 6/6 cities, mortality in 13/14 cities, and incidence in 33/47 cities. Conclusions: CLRI is a valid tool for assessing sub-city risk of SARS COV-2 infection and illness severity. Stronger associations with positivity, hospitalization and mortality may reflect differential testing access, greater weight on components associated with poor outcomes than transmission, omitted variable bias, or other reasons. City stakeholders can use the CLRI, publicly available on the City Health Dashboard (, to guide SARS COV-2 resource allocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102814
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Covid-19
  • SARS COV-2
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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