COVID-19’s impact in rural NC

Throughout the pandemic, The Daily Yonder has been tracking COVID-19’s impact on rural America. As of April 14, 2021, they reported that 14% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. occurred in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. The rate of new infections has been lower in rural counties than metropolitan counties over the last two months, but the rural death rate was higher than the metro death rate. Today, we are taking a closer look at the…

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Vaccine hesitancy in North Carolina

A poll released last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that a growing number of people in the United States indicate that they have or will receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But there are still many people who are hesitant to get the vaccine. The CDC recently released an interactive map estimating how hesitant areas are across the United States to receive the vaccine. The map estimates the population that…

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COVID-19 and Long-Term Care Facilities in NC

Residents and employees of nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are more vulnerable to COVID-19 related illness and death than the general population. In fact, nationally 38% of COVID-19 deaths have been associated with LTCFs. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that individuals in LTCFs be prioritized in COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans. In North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s vaccination rollout plan, he included long-term care residents and staff along with…

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COVID-19 cases across NC counties

It’s been nearly a year since our lives were first disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. What do cumulative case counts, deaths, and vaccination levels look like in North Carolina? Here’s the latest data according to NC DHHS data accessed on 2/11/2021. I used the projected 2020 population from the state demographer to calculate levels per 10,000 residents. COVID-19 Cases There have been 805,889 cases recorded in North Carolina counties or 758 per 10,000 residents.…

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Orange County, NC: Community health and well-being

We recently worked with the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the governments of the Towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough, and Orange County to streamline existing processes for acquiring, updating, and maintaining the data they use for their community reports and presentations. As part of that work, we've released a series of reports looking at demographic and economic trends in Orange County, NC. Here are some highlights from Carolina Demography's report on community…

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Looking at E-Cigarette Usage in North Carolina

E-Cigarette Usage for North Carolina Residents Across the United States, cigarette smoking is now at an all-time low – dropping from 42% of adults in 1965 to 14% in 2017. This is a major victory for public health officials, but challenges remain. Historically, e-cigarettes have been embraced by existing tobacco smokers as a reportedly safer alternative to smoking and eventual cessation device. More recently, however, new users – particularly high school students - have taken…

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Are absentee ballot requests in NC related to COVID-19 rates?

For the past few months, I’ve wondered: is there a relationship between COVID-19 and absentee ballot requests? Specifically, I hypothesized that absentee ballot requests may increase in communities where COVID-19 rates were higher, perhaps due to increased news coverage and concerns about the virus. Yesterday, I finally dug into the data for North Carolina counties. I looked at the percent of registered voters who had requested an absentee ballot and the cumulative COVID-19 cases and…

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NC in Focus: COVID-19 cases spiking in NC rural counties

Nationally, rural counties reported a record number for new COVID-19 infections between September 20-26, according to a recent report from the Daily Yonder. More than half of rural counties nationwide—990—were in the red zone, meaning that they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in a one-week period. [alert type= "info" title = "Defining the 'Red Zone'" body= "According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the red zone corresponds to 101 or…

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Dying to Reopen: Comparing North Carolina and Georgia

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to remain physically distant from each other but has also created new opportunities for us to remain socially connected. Since UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC) closed its campus in mid-March, I (Alexis) have virtually collaborated with my colleagues in the Sociology Department and at the Carolina Population Center, participated in global dance parties on Instagram, laughed with friends on Google Hangout, and played pub-style trivia over Zoom. Each week, I look…

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Are more NC grandparents raising grandchildren because of the opioid epidemic?

The opioid epidemic has had devastating impacts in recent years, affecting the lives of those battling addiction as well as their family, friends, and colleagues. Children, too, are deeply affected; they may be separated from parents with substance abuse disorders if their caretaker becomes incarcerated, needs to enter a rehabilitation program, or becomes unable to care for them. First-hand accounts and interviews collected by non-profit groups and the media suggest that nearby family members typically…

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