This chart shows the evolution over time of the distribution of estimated cumulative excess mortality across World Bank income groups. It calculates for each income group the share in estimated cumulative excess mortality globally since the start of the pandemic.
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 indicator reflects an absolute concept of mortality in that it expresses how the absolute death toll in a particular income group contributes to the global death tally. This differs fundamentally from the concept of the mortality rate, which expresses the absolute toll relative to population size and thus provides an indication of performance controlling for population size. The absolute numbers underpinning the mortality distribution shown here 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 income 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:
Low-income countries (LICs): 683 million
In light of these differences in population size, we expect large differences in the distribution of absolute mortality even if mortality rates were constant across groups.