The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Ethnic Minorities in Manchester

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This rapid review summarises the economic impacts of the pandemic on ethnic minorities, focusing on the city of Manchester. It utilises multiple reporting sources to explore various dimensions of the economic shock in the UK, linking this to studies of pre-COVID-19 economic and ethnic composition in Manchester and in the combined authority area of Greater Manchester. We then make inferences about the pandemic’s impact specific to the city region. Greater Manchester has seen some of the highest rates of COVID-19 and as a result has faced particularly stringent 'lockdown' regulations.

Manchester is the sixth most deprived Local Authority in England (according to 2019 English Indices of Multiple Deprivation). As a consequence, many neighbourhoods in the city were always going to be less resilient to the economic shock caused by the pandemic compared with other, less-deprived, areas. Particular challenges for Manchester include the prevalence of poor health, low-paid work, low qualifications, poor housing conditions and overcrowding. Ethnic minority groups also faced disparities long before the onset of the pandemic. Within the UK, ethnic minorities have been found to be most disadvantaged in terms of employment and housing – particularly in large urban areas containing traditional settlement areas for ethnic minorities. Further, all Black, Asian, and Minority ethnic (BAME) groups in Greater Manchester have been found to be less likely to be employed pre-pandemic compared with White people. For example, people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds, especially women, have the lowest levels of employment in Greater Manchester. Finally, unprecedented cuts to public spending as a result of austerity have also disproportionately affected women of an ethnic minority background alongside women, disabled people, the young and those with no or low-level qualifications. This environment has created and sustained a multiplicative disadvantage for Manchester’s ethnic minority residents through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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