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Five U.S. Facts and Trends in 2022 That You Should Know

PRB tracked these U.S. trends in 2022 to foster a deeper understanding of the issues and inform changes that can improve people’s lives.

Rarely do we live through a time when population change—as measured through birth, death, and migration—has shifted so notably. In the United States, the total fertility rate dropped to a record low in 2020, COVID-related deaths contributed to a 2.7-year decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2021, and international migration reached a decades-long low between 2020 and 2021 due to travel restrictions.

In 2022, we documented how unequally Americans felt the pandemic’s impact, and the institutions and policies that contributed to or buffered the uneven toll. Here we highlight five such facts and trends we tracked that offer paths forward in 2023 and beyond.

1. Pandemic lockdowns led to impaired federal data quality in 2020, but there are solutions.

Data collection across various national surveys faced challenges because of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in 2020. We documented which data were most impacted and what strategies researchers and practitioners should consider using, as well as COVID-19’s impact on the American Community Survey across counties and its implications.

2. Despite the “return to normalcy,” more than half of caregivers remain worried for their children’s safety.

In California, more than half (58%) of caregivers were concerned about their children’s safety in the wake of relaxed public health measures in schools. Nearly 7 in 10 caregivers to children with special health care needs expressed some concern that their children were falling behind at school. (Consider making a tax-deductible donation to KidsData today.)

3. Young Americans face lower life expectancies and higher death rates than their peers in other affluent countries.

Americans ages 15 to 24 are twice as likely to die as their peers in France, Germany, Japan, and other wealthy nations. Growing rates of mental health problems and substance abuse among young Americans during the pandemic could contribute to even higher death rates.

4. Anti-poverty tax credits are linked to declines in reports of child neglect, youth violence, and juvenile convictions.

Anti-poverty tax credits provide more than financial relief for families living on tight budgets—they also appear to help prevent trauma, violence, and crime among children and youth. Read PRB’s summary of new research on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITIC) and the Child Tax Credit supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

5. Current events like gun violence, the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and the COVID-19 pandemic affect U.S. families.

PRB staff examined the data behind current events to provide an evidence-based understanding of their impacts.

In the year ahead, we will continue to track these and other trends to foster deeper understanding and inform changes that can improve people’s lives.