The Lived Experience of COVID-19 Mortality: Quantifying the Relationship between Excess Mortality and Family Bereavement
Mallika Snyder1, Diego Alburez-Gutierrez2, Iván Williams3, Emilio Zagheni2
1University of California, Berkeley, 2Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 3University of Buenos Aires
Excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase the probability of experiencing kin loss, known to affect the well-being of bereaved individuals. We use microsimulation and formal demographic methods to provide the first international comparisons of potential bereavement associated with the pandemic. On average, individuals were especially likely to lose a grandparent, consistent with the known concentration of COVID-19 excess mortality at older ages. Preliminary results for March-June 2020 in 24 European countries and the US show a positive linear relationship between excess mortality and family bereavement. Ongoing work will focus on understanding why countries with similar levels of excess mortality are associated with different levels of excess bereavement; for example, Spain saw a greater relative increase in the probability of losing a grandparent (3.6% over a counterfactual scenario) than the United Kingdom (2.1%). We anticipate that this is influenced by pre-existing age-sex and kinship structures.