Charts of the Week: People and places during coronavirus


In Charts of the Week this week, a few items related to U.S. populations, people, and places related to the coronavirus pandemic.

City growth is SLOWING

Fig 1
Population growth in U.S. metro areas is slowing. William Frey observes that “as urban population disperses, smaller metropolitan areas, suburban counties, and populations residing outside of metropolitan areas are seeing more modest growth declines and even additional population gains.” Throughout the 68 urban core counties with populations over 500,000 people, 30 registered a population loss in 2018 to 2019, and 60 grew less or lost more population than in 2014 to 2015. Frey concludes that while the effects of COVID-19 on this population dispersal remain to be seen, “despite recent demographic reversals, major metropolitan areas will continue to be important anchors for the nation’s population and economy in the decade ahead.”

Coronavirus lessons from New York and San Francisco

California is doing the best, New York the worstIndermit Gill explores the different outcomes in terms of coronavirus identification and treatment in San Francisco and New York, comparing a number of factors between them. “California has been the best performer among U.S. states that have had at least 10 COVID-19 deaths; New York has been the worst,” he writes, but a closer look at these two densely-populated coastal cities shows that “COVID-related outcomes in these cities are even more different than those of their states.” In his piece, Gills offers some conclusions that poorer countries can take from the experience of these two cities.

COVID-19 is a chance to invest in our essential infrastructure workforce

FIg1Joseph Kane notes that “infrastructure workers were essential long before COVID-19, but their economic importance has come into greater focus during the crisis and is beginning to shape the response, too.” In his argument for hiring and training a new generation of infrastructure workers, he observes that the rates if physical proximity, disease exposure, and face-to-face interactions are high for many of these workers. Kane argues that “Just as our infrastructure systems require generational investment, so too do our infrastructure workers. Hiring, training, and retaining a new generation of infrastructure workers will help drive our recovery and create a stronger, more resilient infrastructure system for the future.”