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Demographers’ contributions to the understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic

During epidemics and pandemics of infectious diseases, demography’s insights help understand who infects whom, how many cases of an infection there might be, and how severe a pathogen might be. Population scientists also play key roles in evaluating the death toll linked to an epidemic, describing how it affects fundamental aspects of social life (e.g., marriage, fertility, residential arrangements), and planning social services to mitigate its impact on wellbeing. The IUSSP is presenting here some of the (numerous) contributions demographers have made to our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic that is currently unfolding. We plan to update this page regularly. We hope to highlight contributions from all regions of the world. If you have information or resources you would like to share on this page, please email

Information is provided in 6 categories:

  • Demographers in the news 
  • Demographic research and advocacy on the spread and impact of covid-19
  • Data collection on and during the covid-19 pandemic
  • Data visualization corner 
  • Projecting impact and needs for the most vulnerable
  • Coping with the COVID19 pandemic throughout the world


Demographers in the News

Demographers have contributed to news reports on various aspects of the pandemic, from prevention strategies to differences between countries in number of COVID19 deaths.


*** The reports below are predominantly from US and European news sources at the moment, please contribute news reports from other world regions ***

Fact Sheet Demographic Aspects of COVID 19

By Vanessa Di Lego and Miguel Sánchez-Romero, Wittgenstein Centre, July 2022 - COVID-19 showed that the ability to cope, recover and adapt to the pandemic and its social and economic consequences varies across population subgroups as well as institutional and geographical contexts. The Fact Sheet sheds light on the impact of the pandemic on people’s health, family dynamics, economies and migration.

A Poor People's Pandemic Report: mapping the Intersection of Poverty, Race and Covid-19 in the US
by SDSN Secretariat, 6 April 2022

COVID-19 is more deadly for men than for women
by Gilles Pison, France Meslé
Population & Sociétés,  March 2022, n°598

Africa may have been hit harder by covid-19 than anyone knew
(Washington Post, 18 February 2022)

U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries (New York Times, 2 February 2021)


The wealth gradient and the effect of COVID-19 restrictions on income loss, food insecurity and health care access in four sub-Saharan African geographies (Plos One. 15 Dec 2021)

Estimating the death toll of the Covid-19 pandemic in India  preprint 6 July 2021. Christophe Z Guilmoto (medRxiv)


Child Marriages During the Pandemic by Shireen Jejeebhoy (The India Forum)


Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Lessons in Tackling a Public Health Catastrophe (Economic & Political Weekly)

Precarity in a Time of Uncertainty: Gendered Employment Patterns during the Covid-19 Lockdown in India (Feminist Economics)

Scarred by Zika and fearing new COVID-19 variants, Brazilian women say no to another pandemic pregnancy (The Conversation. 28 April 2021)

Are Bill Gates’s Billions Distorting Public Health Data? (The Nation. December 2020)


Can New Mortality Data Explain India's Low COVID Death Numbers? (IndiaSpend. 23 March 2021)

COVID-19 Data: What are we counting? (Jose Miguel Guzman)

As the pandemic recedes, let migrants move again (The Economist, 1 August 2020)


Health Experts Want People To Know Face Covers Can Protect The Wearer Too (HuffPost Life, 15 July 2020)

Épidémie de Covid-19 : quel impact sur l’espérance de vie en France ? (The Conversation, 28 June 2020)


When 511 Epidemiologists Expect to Fly, Hug and Do 18 Other Everyday Activities Again (NY Times, 8 june 2020)

How the Coronavirus Compares With 100 Years of Deadly Events (NY Times, 10 June 2020)


The pandemic's impact on adolescents. By Shireen Jejeebhoy. (IDR, 20 May 2020)


UK wrong to rule out global coronavirus comparisons, experts say (Guardian, 17 May 2020)


Sweden Stayed Open. A Deadly Month Shows the Risks (NY Times, 15 May 2020)


Malegaon mystery: Covid count low but surge in overall deaths (The Indian Express, 4 May 2020)



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Demographic research and news articles on the spread and impact of COVID-19


Expert United Nations group meeting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fertility.

Books and essays:

Demography Beyond the Foot. Jenny Trinitapoli, Population and Development Review , 1 Februrary 2021

Fiorenza Gamba, Marco Nardone, Toni Ricciardi, Sandro Cattacin (eds.). COVID 19 – Le regard des Sciences Sociales, Seismo, 2020.


Open access downloadable PDF. This "flash book" (written in 3 months) includes twenty-seven contributions. It is available in French and will also be published in Italian (in July) and in German (in August).



Reduction in life expectancy in Brazil after COVID-19 (Nature Medicine)


Can the world close the 9-year vaccination gap between high- and low-income countries? (COVID-19 Data and Innovation Centre)

How Demography Can Help to Better Understand the Pandemic (Population Europe)

COVID Data Twitter Takeover Series (Population Europe)

Reduction in the 2020 Life Expectancy in Brazil after COVID-19 (MedrXIV)

COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2020 (MPI, April 2021)


Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes in the US, March 1, 2020, to January 2, 2021 (Jama Network, 2 April 2021)

Baby bust in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? First results from the new STFF data series
(Tomas Sobotka, Aiva Jasilioniene, Ainhoa Alustiza Galarza, Kryštof Zeman, Laszlo Nemeth, Dmitri Jdanov, PREPRINT in SocArXiv papers, Version 24 March 2021)


France 2020: 68,000 excess deaths attributable to COVID-19
France 2020 : 68 000 décès supplémentaires imputables à l’épidémie de Covid-19
(Gilles Pison, France Meslé, Population and Societies. March 2021)

Vaccinating the oldest against COVID-19 saves both the most lives and most years of life


COVID-19 deaths detected in a systematic post-mortem surveillance study in Africa | medRxiv

Understanding Women’s and Girls’ Vulnerabilities to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Gender Analysis and Data Dashboard of Low- and Lower-Middle Income Countries (Data 2x)

Report: COVID-19 Data and Data Sharing Agreements: The Potential of Sunset Clauses and Sunset Provisions (SDSN TReNDS and

DataReady Limited on behalf of C4DC)

Suppression, Spikes, and Stigma: How COVID-19 Will Shape International Migration and Hostilities toward It (Center for Migration Studies)

Magnitude, demographics and dynamics of the effect of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on all-cause mortality in 21 industrialized countries (Nature, 14 October 2020)

279,700 extra deaths in the US so far in this pandemic year (The Conversation, 14 October 2020)

Is India missing COVID-19 deaths? (The Lancet, 5 September 2020)

How many people has the coronavirus killed? (Nature, 1 September 2020)

Modelling COVID-19 mortality at the regional level in Italy (SocArXiv, 27 August 2020)

Population age structure only partially explains the large number of COVID-19 deaths at the oldest ages (Demographic Research, 21 August 2020)

Demographic perspectives on the mortality of COVID-19 and other epidemics (PNAS, 20 August 2020)

Up to 204,691 extra deaths in the US so far in this pandemic year (The Conversation, 13 August 2020)

Protect Adolescent Health in Pandemic Response (Family Planning 2020)

How Are Key Demographic Indicators Related to Covid-19 Reported in the United States? (Populuation Council)


COVID-19 has “devastating” effect on women and girls (The Lancet, 1 August 2020)

COVID-19: Montréal parmi les villes les plus touchées en Occident (La Presse, 31 July 2020)

Covid-19 threatens access to abortions and contraceptives, experts warn (Guardian 23 July 2020)

Comparisons of all-cause mortality between European countries and regions: January to June 2020

Estimating the burden of COVID-19 on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: A population-level study (medRxiv, 16 July 2020. Preprint)

UNFPA Webinar: COVID-19 and People of African Descent
Thursday 23 July 2020

After COVID-19, a future for the world's children? (The Lancet, 2 July 2020)

Intersecting household-level health and socio-economic vulnerabilities and the COVID-19 crisis: An analysis from the UK (Science Direct, 2 July 2020). Open access (currently in pre-print status).


Forecasting spatial, socioeconomic and demographic variation in COVID-19 health care demand in England and Wales  (BMC Medicine, 29 June 2020)


Exploring the young demographic profile of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong: Evidence from migration and travel history data (PLOS ONE, 26 June 2020)

Population heterogeneity is a critical factor of the kinetics of the COVID-19 epidemics (MedRxiv, 25 June 2020)

Ethnic disparities in hospitalisation for COVID-19 in England: The role of socioeconomic factors, mental health, and inflammatory and pro-inflammatory factors in a community-based cohort study (Science Direct. 1st June 2020)

Behaviors and attitudes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights from a cross-national Facebook Survey (Pre-print article, MedRxiv, 15 May 2020)


Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world

Demographic Perspectives on Mortality of Covid-19 and Other Epidemics


Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy in Madrid (Spain)

The Strength of Family Ties and COVID-19 (Contexts)

COVID-19: A New Challenge for Migration Policy (Migration Policy Practice, April-June 2020)

Policy Brief. Demography and the Coronavirus Pandemic (Population Europe, May 2020)



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