This chart shows the evolution over time of the estimated cumulative excess mortality toll in absolute numbers across World Bank regions.
The excess death estimates are the mid-point estimates derived from excess death model of The Economist, which fills data gaps on the basis of a machine-learning algorithm that learns from official excess mortality date, where available, and over 100 other statistical indicators. The indicator is available on a weekly frequency and its values are converted into a smoothed average. For more details on methods and sources, check out the excess mortality entry in the list of background notes below.
The absolute expression of the excess mortality toll is useful to highlight the the contribution of countries or groups of countries to the global total. Excess mortality rates, which express the absolute toll relative to population size, provide an indication of performance controlling for population size. The absolute numbers however take the view that a life lost is a life lost, no matter where the person happened to live. It offers a valuable perspective on the absolute scale of the pandemic’s death toll.
It should be noted that the different regional groups shown here are of very different population size dimensions. The global population as per the 2021 medium-variant projection of World Population Prospects is 7,866 million people, which is distributed as follows:
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): 1,166 million
In light of these differences in population size, we expect large differences in absolute excess mortality numbers even if excess mortality rates were constant across groups.