Charts of the Week: Mask wearing, new Iraq data, metro area recovery from COVID-19

Charts of the week

In this edition of Charts of the Week: new data on why Americans do, or don’t, wear masks; new data from the Iraq Index; and a sample of data from the Metro Recovery Index interactive.

Why so many Americans don’t wear masks

Writing for the Up Front blog, professors Edward Vargas and Gabriel Sanchez review some results from their National Panel Study on COVID-19 in which they asked Americans whether or not they wore masks when in public, and then why or why not. Overall, their data show that 20% of Americans are not wearing masks, and of that group, 40% say it’s because it is “their right as an American to not wear a mask.” For the majority who do wear masks, 91% say they do so to protect themselves, or to protect others, or both.


Last week we featured new data from the Afghanistan Index. This week, new data from the Iraq Index highlight similar kinds security, economic, and political indicators in that country. Sam Gollob and Michael O’Hanlon write that Iraq “is gradually becoming a middle-income country, with notable improvements in the quality of life in recent times—even as corruption remains endemic, jobs for many youth remain scarce, and sectarian pressures (often inflamed by Iran) always threaten to boil over yet again.”

COVID-19’s impact on metropolitan areas

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
Small business closings:
Average percent change in small businesses open at all from baseline period (Jan 4, 2020 – Jan 31, 2020).

Metro Recovery IndexSource: Homebase Latest data: July 2020

The new Metro Recovery Index presents data on a range of indicators for large and mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas compared to pre-coronavirus states. The interactive tracker allows users to see impacts and trajectories in the labor market, real estate market, and other areas of economic activity at the metro level. The above chart, for example, is one indicator for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metropolitan area. Click through to discover how COVID-19 has impacted your community.