Nearly 15 million excess deaths occurred globally in 2020-2021.
At 300 deaths per 100,000, Eastern Europe saw the highest rate of average annual excess deaths due to the pandemic in 2020-2021.
The oldest region is Southern Europe, with 22% of its population aged 65 or older.
The youngest region is Middle Africa where 45% of population is younger than 15.
The 2022 edition of the World Population Data Sheet casts an in-depth look at the demographic impacts of COVID-19, painting a global picture of the pandemic’s impacts on mortality and fertility patterns. It finds COVID-19 has fueled excess deaths, accounting for 12% of all deaths globally and contributing to declines in life expectancy in some countries. At the same time, the pandemic’s effects on fertility have been limited.
According to the resource, excess deaths “measure the difference between the number of actual deaths and the number of deaths that would have been expected had the pandemic not occurred.” Excess deaths include deaths from COVID-19 itself and from unavailable or delayed healthcare, while accounting for decreases in deaths from other causes, for example traffic accidents, due to changes in people’s behaviors. The Data Sheet notes that regional and country variations in excess deaths reflect variations in population age structures, health infrastructures, socioeconomic conditions, and COVID-19 containment measures, including vaccination rates.
Regarding fertility, the publication notes that the pandemic’s impact on fertility rates was “less significant than expected and largely temporary.” In high-income countries such as Italy, Germany, and the US, births rebounded in 2021 following small declines in 2020. Low- and middle-income countries experienced few or no fertility impacts.
Additional points in the 2022 Data Sheet include:
- Nearly 15 million excess deaths occurred globally in 2020-2021.
- At 300 deaths per 100,000, Eastern Europe saw the highest rate of average annual excess deaths due to the pandemic in 2020-2021.
- Between 2019 and 2021, life expectancy in the US declined from 78 years to 76 years. Global life expectancy at birth is 75 years for women and 70 years for men.
- At 2.3 births per woman, the global total fertility rate (TFR) remains above replacement level. East Asia has the lowest regional TFR of 1.2 births per woman.
- The global population increased slightly, to just under 8 billion people. It is projected that India will experience “the greatest absolute increase in population size of any country between 2022 and 2050, rising by more than 253 million to 1.67 billion.”
- The oldest region is Southern Europe, with 22% of its population aged 65 or older. The youngest region is Middle Africa where 45% of population is younger than 15.
The World Population Data Sheet is released annually by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a non-profit organization that tracks population indicators for more than 200 countries and territories. [Publication: World Population Data Sheet 2022] [World Population Data Sheet 2022 Online] [PRB Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Stories About the World Data Population Sheet in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on DESA’s 2022 Revision to World Population Prospects]