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Charts of the Week: COVID-19’s disparate gender impact, and more

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In this week’s Charts of the Week, a look at COVID-19’s disparate gender impact; the national capital region’s aging population; and advertising in higher education.

COVID-19 is more fatal for men

covid gender ratio

Richard Reeves and Tiffany Ford observe that “men face a higher risk of death [from COVID-19] than women, across the U.S. and indeed across the globe.” Around 5,000 more men than women have died from the virus in the U.S. as of mid-May, they note. A variety of reasons may explain this gender gap, including underlying health and hormonal differences, and these deserve more study. “The gendered impacts of COVID-19 go well beyond immediate health effects, of course,” Reeves and Ford conclude, “and include trends in the labor market, in rates of domestic violence, in the division of caring responsibilities, and so on.”

The aging population of the national capital region

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In a collaborative report from Brookings, the American Enterprise Institute, Fannie Mae, Georgetown University, and the George Washington University, a team of scholars examines the changing age distribution of the Washington, D.C.-region’s population. “Since 1970,” they write, “the region has seen sharp declines in the share of children under 18 and young adults (ages 18 to 29). The share of the population over age 59 has increased from around 10% to nearly 20%.” The authors conclude that “as the region (and the nation) grow older, policymakers and private businesses need to take these factors into account.”

Advertising in higher education

Stephanie Riegg Cellini and Latika Chaudhary write that “colleges seem to advertise nearly everywhere—on TV, on the internet, and even on subway trains.” Spending on advertising increased dramatically over the early 2000s, peaking around $1.2 billion in 2013 before declining in more recent years. Two-fifths of this spending was by degree-granting for-profit institutions that serve just 6% of students, adding to existing concerns about transparency and lack of oversight of for-profit institutions. Cellini and Chaudhary conclude that “policymakers [should] do more to enforce existing laws prohibiting misrepresentation in college advertising and consider taking additional measures to enhance transparency and accountability in the for-profit sector.”

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