Black Businesses Matter: A Longitudinal Study of Black-Owned Restaurants in the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Geospatial Big Data

Xiao Huang, Xiaoqi Bao, Zhenlong Li, Shaozeng Zhang, Bo Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Black communities in the United States have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, few empirical studies have been conducted to examine the conditions of Black-owned businesses in the United States during this challenging time. In this article, we assess the circumstances of Black-owned restaurants during the entire year of 2020 through a longitudinal quantitative analysis of restaurant patronage. Using multiple sources of geospatial big data, the analysis reveals that most Black-owned restaurants in this study are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic among different cities in the United States over time. The finding reveals the need for a more in-depth understanding of Black-owned restaurants’ situations during the pandemic and further indicates the significance of carrying out place-based relief strategies. Our findings also urge big tech companies to improve existing Black-owned business campaigns to enable sustainable support. As the first to systematically examine the racialization of locational information, this article implies that geographic information systems (GIS) development should not be detached from human experience, especially that of minorities. A humanistic rewiring of GIS is envisioned to achieve a more racially equitable world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-205
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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