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The global normalcy index (The Economist)

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The Economist

Is the world returning to pre-pandemic life? Find out with our interactive tracker

UPDATED ON JUNE 30TH

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 many have wondered when the world will return to “normal”. But whether things will ever go back to the way they were is unclear: remote working looks set to continue, for example, and going to the movies may never be as popular as it used to be.

The Economist has devised a “normalcy index” to track how behaviour has changed, and continues to change, because of the pandemic. Our index comprises eight indicators, split into three domains. The first grouping is transport and travel: public transport in big cities; the amount of traffic congestion in those same cities; and the number of international and domestic flights. The second looks at recreation and entertainment: how much time is spent outside the home; cinema box-office revenues (a proxy measure for cinema attendance); and attendance at professional sports events. The third is retailing and work: footfall in shops; and occupancy of offices (measured by workplace footfall in big cities).

Our index covers 50 of the world’s largest economies that together account for 90% of global GDP and 76% of the world’s population. Our aggregate measure is the population-weighted average of each country’s score. The pre-pandemic level of activity is set at 100 for ease of comparison. The tracker is updated with new data once a week.

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