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PRB Releases 2022 World Population Data Sheet, Providing Comprehensive Look at COVID-19 Pandemic's Demographic Impacts in More Than 200 Countries

Nearly 15 million excess deaths reported globally in 2020 and 2021, with life expectancy dropping in many countries, including the United States

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2022—The COVID-19 pandemic caused nearly 15 million excess deaths in 2020 and 2021, accounting for 12% of all deaths globally and contributing to declines in life expectancy in some countries, including the United States.

Those are among the findings in PRB’s newly released 2022 World Population Data Sheet, providing a global picture of the pandemic’s impacts on mortality and fertility patterns.

Published annually since 1962, PRB’s World Population Data Sheet is a leading resource for policymakers, educators, and researchers seeking reliable demographic data. The 60th edition charts indicators for more than 200 countries and territories.

“Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally getting a clearer and more nuanced picture of its impact across countries and communities,” PRB President and CEO Jeffrey Jordan said. “We hope the data and evidence in the 2022 World Population Data Sheet can provide greater insights for decisionmakers.”

Other key findings in the 2022 Data Sheet include:

  • Between January 2020 and December 2021, the pandemic contributed to 12% of total deaths globally, directly or indirectly. Central America was hardest hit, with more than 25% of deaths associated with the pandemic.
  • Around 7.46 million excess deaths occurred on average in both 2020 and 2021, leading to nearly 15 million excess deaths over the two-year period. 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.
  • Between 2019 and 2021, life expectancy in the United States declined from 78 years to 76 years—reversing 30 years of gains. Global life expectancy at birth is 75 years for women and 70 years for men.
  • The global population rose slightly to just under 8 billion people. India is projected to have 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 pandemic’s impact on fertility rates was less significant than expected and largely temporary. High-income countries such as Italy, Germany and the United States experienced small declines in births in 2020, rebounding in 2021. Low- and middle-income countries saw little to no fertility impacts.
  • The global total fertility rate (TFR)—lifetime number of births per woman—is 2.3, still above the replacement-level TFR of approximately 2.1 births per woman.

“As more data and analysis become available, we are seeing how different populations were impacted unequally by the pandemic,” said Toshiko Kaneda, PRB’s Technical Director, Demographic Research. “Understanding how the pandemic’s impacts varied across groups is critical to prepare for future pandemics and crises.”

Click here to download a free copy of PRB’s 2022 World Population Data Sheet.

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PRB promotes and supports evidence-based policies, practices, and decision-making to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world. Find out more at Follow us on Twitter @PRBdata.