Covid Baby Bust Has Governments Rattled



Of course, there’s a case to be made that fewer people in advanced economies is a good thing. But arrayed against that are all the “because groaf” forces. The two drivers of growth are demographic growth, as in more people, and productivity increases. National leaders are afraid of becoming the new Japan, having an aging population and falling in the “size of economy” pecking order, when Japan has weathered a financial system crisis and implosion of real estate prices with remarkable grace. And the demographic time bomb? The feared dependency ratio? More older Japanese work. Japanese even more so than Westerners prize attachment to communities and organizations, so it would probably suit those who are able to handle it to remain in the saddle or get a part-time job.

But the big point is that the Covid impact on child-bearing is widespread and looks set to continue for quite a while. The old solution in advanced economies for low birth rates was immigration. But that’s now become fraught. First is that neoliberalism-induced widening income disparity means those on the bottom are extremely insecure. Bringing more people in to them sure looks like a mechanism for keeping their crappy wages down. Second is advanced economies now eschew assimilation as if it were racist. But what did you expect, say, when Germany brought in Syrian refugees, who skewed male and young, and didn’t even arrange to teach them German? The notion that there’s a public sphere, where citizens hew to national norms versus a private sphere seems to have been lost (having said that, I don’t understand the fuss about headscarves; Grace Kelly wore them, so why should a religious intent matter?).

Author(s): Yves Smith

Publication Date: 5 March 2021

Publication Site: naked capitalism

The Covid-19 Baby Bust Is Here




A year into the pandemic, early data and surveys point to a baby bust in many advanced economies from the U.S. to Europe to East Asia, often on top of existing downward trends in births.

A combination of health and economic crises is prompting many people to delay or abandon plans to have children. Demographers warn the dip is unlikely to be temporary, especially if the pandemic and its economic consequences drag on.

“All evidence points to a sharp decline in fertility rates and in the number of births across highly developed countries,” said Tomas Sobotka, a researcher at the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. “The longer this period of uncertainty lasts, the more it will have lifelong effects on the fertility rate.”

Author(s): Margherita Stancati

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

China says working on plan to raise retirement age



You said raising the retirement age in a gradual manner is a major decision made upon China’s overall economic and social development, which will improve the use of China’s human resources, enhance the sustainability of the social insurance system and ensure basic living of the people.

Currently, in China, the retirement age for men is 60, while for women it is 55 for white-collar workers and 50 for blue-collar employees.

With great social and economic progress taking place in China, the retirement age, which was set in the 1950s, is relatively low, according to You, who cited longer average life expectancy as well as changes in demographic structure and the supply and demand of labor.

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: China Daily

Only One U.S. State Has Vaccinated 10% of Its Black Population: Covid-19 Tracker




Some of the disparities are a result of who has approval to get shots so far. The elderly are more likely to be White, while the Hispanic population skews young and is less likely to work in hospitals and nursing care, groups targeted in the earliest phases of vaccine distribution.

Other disparities are a result of lower uptake rates among certain groups. Some health-care settings have reported that it’s taking longer to build up trust with communities of color, particularly Black people, who are wary of a medical establishment that for centuries has ignored and mistreated them. Anti-vaxx misinformation campaigns are targeting the already hesitant, including women and Black people. In addition, those with fewer resources may not be able to navigate the notoriously buggy and overloaded online sign-up systems. Meanwhile, others with connections, time, and money can snap up open slots.

Publication Date: 24 February 2021 (last updated)

Publication Site: Bloomberg

Economic Research on Treating Aging to Extend Healthy Longevity



In one sense, there is an enormous wealth of research on the economics of longer lives. This is a byproduct of the operations of sizable pensions and life insurance industries, dependent as they are on successfully predicting future trends in life span. On the other hand, outside this somewhat narrow scope, most concerned with the gain of a tenth of a year here and the loss of a tenth of a year there, there is comparatively little economic work that is directly tied to the research and advocacy communities engaged in trying to treat aging and greatly lengthen healthy human lifespan. That will change as the longevity industry both grows and succeeds in introducing age-slowing and rejuvenating therapies into the clinic.

The paper and commentary that I point out today might be taken as a sample of what lies ahead for the economics profession. At least some economists are at present managing to convince grant-awarding bodies in their field that, yes, there is real movement towards the treatment of aging, and perhaps someone should look into how that will likely play out in markets and societies. It should come as no great surprise to the audience here that even modest gains in slowing or reversing aging have vast economic benefits when they occur across an entire population. The cost of coping with aging is vast, the cost of incapacity and lost knowledge and death due to aging equally vast. It is by far the biggest and most pressing issue that faces humanity, and now we enter an era in which we can finally start to do something about it.

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Fight Aging

Same-Sex Couple Households: 2019




This brief highlights the geographic distribution of same-sex couple households, and explores selected characteristics of opposite sex and same-sex couples using data from the 2019 American Community Survey. In addition, the brief examines the presence of children based on couple type.


Publication Date: 23 February 2021

Publication Site: U.S. Census Bureau

Analyzing Census Data in Excel



Excel is a very popular tool among all data users. It can be leveraged to unlock the value of open data of all kinds, and it is particularly well-suited to transforming, analyzing, and visualizing Census data. This course will show how to use Excel to access, manipulate, and visualize Census data.  It will also tools for doing advanced statistical analysis.

After completing this course, you will be able to:
    ✓    Access data from the Census Bureau using the American FactFinder
    ✓    Format tables for data analysis
    ✓    Perform basic and advanced analysis of Census data using Excel
    ✓    Create data visualizations such as sparklines, hierarchical charts, and histograms

Author(s): Andy Hecktman, Alexandra Barker

Date Accessed: 27 February 2021

Publication Site: U.S. Census Bureau

The Racial Wealth Gap




This is the racial wealth gap: the stark wealth difference between white and Black families in the United States. There are several ways to measure this gap, but in 2016 the median wealth for white households was $149,903, while Black households had $13,024.

There’s a myth in the United States that the racial wealth gap has somehow improved over time. This study shows that: many Americans falsely believe that the gap has improved linearly over time, when in reality, it has barely changed and has even gotten worse in some places in the United States.

Granted, other forms of racial injustive have improved since the 60’s. Black representation in politics, media, and academics have improved. Discrimination based on race in the workplace, schools, and in social life have improved. But the racial wealth gap has not improved.

Author(s): Alex Garcia

Publication Date: 20 February 2021

Publication Site: Observable

Diverse Population Uses Nursing Homes Less


Eight states have seen the biggest drops in nursing home use: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Many of these states have experienced fast growth in their minority populations or have more generous state allocations of Medicaid funds for long-term care services delivered in the home.

Growing diversity is actually the second-biggest reason for lower nursing home residence, accounting for one-fifth of the decline, according to the study, which was funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration and is based on U.S. Census data.

Publication Date: 25 February 2021

Publication Site: Squared Away Blog

The smallest population increase in 15 years



[kvinnor = women, man = men]

Excerpt: [via Google Translate]

Last year, it was especially in older ages that the number of deaths was more than in the immediately preceding years. The increasing number of deaths also affected men to a greater extent than women. The excess mortality rate last year was greatest among men older than 75 years, in the age group 75–84 years 20.6 per cent died more than during the comparison period. Among younger women 0-34 years, there was no excess mortality, -8.9 percent fewer died compared with the comparison period. For women, just like men, the differences were greatest in the oldest age groups; in the group aged 75–84, 14.7 per cent more deaths were noted than the average over the past five years.

It is not easy to put the number of dead in a longer historical context. Not least because the demographic composition and population of the country has changed. The development of the number of deaths over time is affected partly by the medical development and partly by the development of various diseases and lifestyles. The number of deaths during different periods is also affected by how many are at the ages when most people die.

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: Statistics Sweden

Your Credit Score Should Be Based on Your Web History, IMF Says



In a new blog post for the International Monetary Fund, four researchers presented their findings from a working paper that examines the current relationship between finance and tech as well as its potential future. Gazing into their crystal ball, the researchers see the possibility of using the data from your browsing, search, and purchase history to create a more accurate mechanism for determining the credit rating of an individual or business. They believe that this approach could result in greater lending to borrowers who would potentially be denied by traditional financial institutions.

At its heart, the paper is trying to wrestle with the dawning notion that the institutional banking system is facing a serious threat from tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple. The researchers identify two key areas in which this is true: Tech companies have greater access to soft-information, and messaging platforms can take the place of the physical locations that banks rely on for meeting with customers.

Author(s): Rhett Jones

Publication Date: 18 December 2020

Publication Site: Gizmodo