February 05, 2021 | News

Researching the Demographic Consequences of the Pandemic

Latest update: March 3, 2021

How do infection control measures affect demographics worldwide? © iStockphoto.com/AsiaVision

The COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating our lives for a year now. Science has done an extraordinary job during this time at unravelling mysteries and unlocking solutions. In like manner, researchers at MPIDR are investigating demographic issues in connection to the novel coronavirus.

March 3, 2021

How to Calculate Week-specific Age-standardized Death Rates from STMF Data?

Dmitri Jdanov © MPIDR

Dmitri Jdanov: “The Short-Term Mortality Fluctuations (STMF) data series provides an opportunity to analyze intra-ann­­ual excess mortality, in particular, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the STMF has a limitation caused by the nature of the collected original weekly death counts. In many countries, weekly death counts are available only by broad age groups or/and are too small and shaky. Moreover, the original age scales somewhat vary by country. Thus, the STMF data file presents weekly deaths and death rates by broad age intervals. The comparisons may be biased due to differences between the population age composition. Our new paper addresses the problem by providing a method for the estimation of week-specific standardized death rates (SDRs) that combines the aggregated weekly mortality data with detailed annual data on mortality and population. We are planning to include SDRs in the STMF data series soon, too.”

More about the project

Preliminary Publication (working paper without peer review)

Klimkin, I., Shkolnikov, V. M., Jdanov, D. A.: Calculation of week-specific age-standardized death rates from STMF data on mortality by broad age intervals. MPIDR Working Paper (2021) DOI: 10.4054/MPIDR-WP-2021-004

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February 18, 2021

Which Cohort Accounts for Most of the Years of Life Lost?

© Linda Tammisto

Mikko Myrskylä: “To properly assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, it is not enough to only count the number of dead. That's why we evaluated more than 1.2 million deaths attributed to COVID-19 in 81 countries to learn how old the people who died from COVID-19 were, and how much their lives were shortened compared to the average life expectancy. Middle aged people and those in early retirement bear the largest share of total years of life lost in global comparison.”

Original publication

Pifarré i Arolas, H., Acosta, E., López Casasnovas, G., Lo, A., Nicodemo, C., Riffe, T., Myrskylä, M.: Years of life lost to COVID-19 in 81 countries. Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-83040-3

February 8, 2021

How to Visualize COVID-19 Excess Mortality in 38 Countries

László Németh: “Currently, the STMF data series contains weekly death counts and death rates by age and sex for 38 countries and regions and is still growing. We decided to add a visualization layer to the database to simplify access to the data. In doing so, we want to enable users to explore the data, enhance the basic understanding, and stimulate research on mortality outbreaks and seasonal variations.”

Original publication

Németh, L., Jdanov, D.A., Shkolnikov, V.M.: An open-sourced, web-based application to analyze weekly excess mortality based on the Short-term Mortality Fluctuations data series. PLOS ONE. (2021) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246663

February 5, 2021

How the Covid-19 Pandemic Amplifies Existing Trends in Demographic Research

Emilio Zagheni © MPIDR/Hagedorn

Emilio Zagheni: “Digital trace data are not the result of the pandemic. But Covid-19 has likely changed the perception that companies, scholars and professional organizations have of these data. That opened new opportunities for progress. Some of the mixing between industry and academia is likely to have planted the seeds for new forms of joint ventures. If appropriate measures are developed to guarantee privacy, data-protection and ethical frameworks for the use of digital traces, the pandemic may mark a milestone for the rapid acceleration of partnerships between scientists and holders of private data and infrastructure.”

Original publication

Zagheni, E.: Covid-19: A Tsunami that Amplifies Existing Trends in Demographic Research. Population and Development Review (2021).  

COVID-19 Blog 2020

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.