Are immigrants more vulnerable to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19? A cross-sectional study in Amadora Municipality, Lisbon metropolitan area

Maria Rosario Maria, Ahmed Nabil Shaaban, Ana Abecasis, Zelia Muggli, Regina Amado, Dora Vaz, Sara S. Dias, Antonio C. Silva, Ines Fronteira

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Introduction: Immigrants carry an extra burden of morbidities and mortalities since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Pre-existing inequalities among immigrants may threaten their economic wellbeing during the pandemic. This study analyzed the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on immigrants and natives living in Amadora, Metropolitan Region of Lisbon and the extent to which preexisting inequalities had been exacerbated during the pandemic. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Amadora Municipality, Lisbon Region, through phone interviews and using a structured questionnaire. Data collected in July 2020, included information on a cohort of 420 households, of which 51% were immigrants. To evaluate the socioeconomic position and economic wellbeing changes occurring during the pandemic we estimate crude and adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI, using Portuguese natives as the reference group. Results: Overall, 287 (70%) participants responded to the questionnaire, of which 47% are immigrants. Preexisting socioeconomic inequalities were exacerbated during the pandemic. Compared with natives, immigrants were more likely to experience job loss, temporary lay-off, and income loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigrants were also more likely to face several kinds of financial hardship during the pandemic, such as difficulties in buying food, hygiene products, and paying bills. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to capture the direct socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 among immigrants and natives in Portugal. It highlights the bidirectional relation between inequalities deeply rooted among immigrants and COVID-19. Socioeconomic inequalities affect local patterns of COVID-19 burden, as confirmed in previous studies, but COVID-19 also has an impact on the economic wellbeing of Amadora immigrants during the pandemic. Urgent policies must be implemented to mitigate the economic burden of COVID-19 among immigrants, namely in Amadora, Lisbon Region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number920308
JournalFrontiers in public health
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • immigrants
  • inequality
  • Lisbon
  • Portugal
  • socioeconomic impact
  • vulnerabilities

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