COVID-19 Neighborhood Profiles: Young Adults in University Park

These neighborhood profiles highlight the intersections of COVID-19 and other social and economic indicators in specific neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County. They are a feature of the NDSC COVID-19 Dashboard.
According to recent press statements issued by Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer, there has been explosive growth in COVID-19 cases amongst young adults ages 18 to 29. While this age group makes up 18% of the county’s total population, they account for 25% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, and now make up more than twice the proportion of all hospitalizations than they did in April.
University Park is a neighborhood adjacent to Downtown LA that encompasses the University of Southern California and the neighboring area. As of August 26th, the area currently has 710 confirmed COVID-19 cases and a 14-day growth rate of 49 cases. While cases in the area are lower than other parts of the city and county that are experiencing larger outbreaks, the area is heavily populated with demographic populations that are currently seeing explosive growth. While only 10% of LA County’s population is between the ages of 18 and 24, 60% of University Park’s population is between the ages of 18 and 24; 14% of the area’s population is between ages 25 and 34. Further, of the population between ages 18 and 24, 93% are currently enrolled in either a public or private school and/or university. This is dramatically higher than the LA county average, where just shy of 50% of the population between ages 18 and 24 are currently enrolled in school.
The map the below shows the Age Distribution of confirmed COVID-19 cases alongside the age distribution of the University Park population and Los Angeles County.
USC began the semester on August 17th with classes almost entirely online and with limited access to campus. Even with remote learning, however, many students are returning to the area to keep their leases in private apartments and off-campus housing. The university has set up a number of Pop testing sites, which administer tests to asymptomatic persons, and has set up contact tracing to monitor exposure. Just one week into the fall semester, 43 COVID-19 cases were confirmed and more than 100 students were placed in quarantine due to exposure, according to a recent Community Health Advisory.

Mackenzie Goldberg
Mackenzie Goldberg is a Master of Urban Planning student at USC Price. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Reed College in Portland, OR. Prior to coming to USC, Mackenzie worked as a writer and editor for an architectural publication based in Los Angeles, CA, where she came to understand the many ways in which policy undergirds our built environment. Her research interests lie at the cross-sector of planning policy, urban design, and community organizing. Through her work, she hopes to better engage communities in the systems that govern our cities.