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Charts of the Week: COVID-19 impacts on deaths, births, and globalization

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In this edition of Charts of the Week: COVID-19 is having an impact in a number of policy spaces, including racial gaps in death rates, in future birth rates, and in the continued decline of global manufacturing trade. Visit our COVID-19 research page for more.

LARGE Race gaps in COVID-19 deaths

Tiffany Ford, Sarah Reber, and Richard Reeves explain that “new data from CDC shows that the death rates among Black and Hispanic/Latino people are much higher than for white people” in every age category. “These disparities can be seen more clearly,” they write, “by comparing the ratio of death rates among Black and Hispanic/Latino people to the rate for white people in each age category. Among those aged 45-54, for example, Black and Hispanic/Latino death rates are at least six times higher than for whites.” Because white people are more heavily represented in older age categories, the racial gaps in COVID-19 death rates are even starker; read their analysis to find out why.

services MAY drive globalization in the post COVID-19 world

Figure 1. Global trade in goods and services as a percentage of GDP

Addisu Lashitew and Abdul Erumban observe that since the Great Recession of 2008, global trade in manufacturing has been declining as corporations have become reluctant to offshore production. “The emerging view,” they write, “is that COVID-19 will reinforce this trend as it pushes economies to turn inward to avoid exposure to external economic and health shocks.” However, the authors conclude that “even as we bid farewell to the heyday of manufacturing globalization, we could be welcoming services as the new driving force of global integration.”

The coming COVID-19 baby bust

Impact of the Great Recession on births graph

Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine explain how “the COVID-19 episode will likely lead to a large, lasting baby bust,” contrary to popular belief. Based on recent and historical data from economic downturns and the experience of the 1918 flu pandemic, people have fewer children in uncertain economic times. For example, these economists note that a one percentage point increase in unemployment reduces the birth rate by 1.4 percent. Kearney and Levine conclude that the COVID-19 crisis “is leading to tremendous economic loss, uncertainty, and insecurity. That is why birth rates will tumble.”

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