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Graph showing global fertility rates and life expectancies.

Ari Winkleman

Japan isn’t the only country worried about the social and economic impacts of its shrinking population. Many countries across East Asia and Europe have been grappling with similar demographic trends in recent years, with some countries, like Hungary, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at women to encourage more procreation. Conversely, Africa is home to the top 14 countries with the highest fertility rates in the world. However, poor healthcare access and conflict mean that the average baby born in Africa will live far fewer years than their European and East Asian counterparts. We take a look at countries with the highest and lowest fertility rates and their respective life expectancies.

Ari Winkleman

It’s been almost three years since the COVID pandemic swung a wrecking ball through our societies, our economies, and our workplaces. But even now, with the most acute phase of the crisis behind us, many aspects of life still aren’t back to what they were in the B.C. (Before Coronavirus) era. One great example is the hours worked in our economies. When the pandemic struck, lockdowns and other restrictions caused the number of hours worked on a quarterly basis around the world to plunge by nearly 20% compared to the final quarter of 2019, the baseline for “last moments of pre-pandemic normalcy.” But since then, the world as a whole still hasn’t gotten back to pre-pandemic levels of hours worked — we’re still almost 1.5% below them. Lower-income countries are struggling more than rich ones to get back to where they were, and there is only one region of the world that shows more hours worked now than before the pandemic — can you guess which one it is?

will us voters show up

Is Trump a demagogue or a revolutionary? Is Biden a consensus builder or a divider-in-chief? Most Americans already hold firm views of the Republican and Democratic parties, and their midterm votes have been set in stone for some time. In tight races, however, the difference will be decided by whether the politically indifferent demographic decides to vote. Getting out the vote is much easier for presidential races, which many voters see as more consequential than midterms. But that trend may be shifting. We look at voter turnout in presidential elections vs. midterms since 1980, and zoom in on the turnout in some key battleground states.

Ari Winkleman

Will bookies be better than pollsters at predicting the results of the upcoming US midterm elections? We'll find out soon enough, but what we do know now is that bettors give the GOP better odds of both retaking the House and winning back control of the Senate. Oddly for a country crazy about sports betting, political gambling in America remains illegal for US citizens — although startup Kalshi is leading the charge for legalization. We compare how election forecasters and bookies view the chances of Democrats keeping the Senate.

Check out more coverage of the US midterms here.

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Ari Winkleman

The world is not going cashless — but it certainly is using a lot less physical money than before. Non-cash transactions exploded during the pandemic, when people around the world first started buying everything online and then became accustomed to having less cash on them to do business in brick-and-mortar establishments. But the so-called "less cash" revolution is not playing out equally across the globe: while rich nations mostly use contactless cards, mobile payments are king in Africa. Meanwhile, QR codes are the way to go in Asia-Pacific, which is leading the surge in the global adoption of cashless payments. We take a look at how different regions have performed since 2019 and look ahead to next year.

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A graphic of digital payment volumes around the world.


Advanced economies have long been turning to digital payment systems to boost commercial opportunities and circumvent traditional banking sector fees. In more recent years, populations across emerging market economies – many grappling with financial implosions and hard currency shortages – have also been tapping into fintech solutions to send money to families abroad and conduct business internationally. Across Africa, Asia, and Central America, the adoption of digital payment systems is projected to surge over the next few years. We take a look at the value of digital payments by region since 2017 and projections through 2027.


Developed and emerging economies alike have seen the value of their currencies plummet in recent months due to the economic reverberations of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Food and fuel shortages have put upward pressure on prices, and inflation has soared to record highs in some places. While inflationary pressures are surely being felt in the US, the greenback has reached a two-decade high compared to other major currencies. This is in part because the US Federal Reserve’s measures to curb inflation have boosted investor confidence. However, a strong US dollar can have painful consequences for other states, particularly import-reliant ones, because most global commodities are priced in US dollars. We take a look at the value of currencies used in the world’s largest economies compared to the US dollar before and after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Migrants leave their countries of origin not only to find work opportunities — the hard-earned money they send back helps keep the lights on back home. After a COVID-related blip in 2020 – which saw a small decline but defied disastrous predictions – global remittances sent by migrants to relatives in their countries of origin are again on the upswing. That’s a big deal for the migrants’ families and for governments of nations who rely on that revenue to keep the economy from collapsing. We take a look at the countries that send and receive the most migrant cash, those that most depend on remittances, and how inflows have performed recently.