Redlining in Denver’s past is shaping coronavirus hot spots now, researchers say

A block in Denver's Valverde neighborhood, April 29, 2020. (Photo by Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Add COVID-19 to the long list of things affected by the racist government practice of “redlining” minority neighborhoods starting back in the 1930s.

Banks restricted lending in those places, resulting in decades of disinvestment that researchers have connected to higher poverty, worse schools and a host of other negative outcomes.

And now, two researchers at the University of Colorado Denver say those vulnerabilities have weakened formerly redlined neighborhoods’ ability to handle crises like the coronavirus.

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Nathaniel Minor is a journalist for CPR News specializing in transportation and growth issues.