Are cancer deaths declining?

The graph here from Our Word in Data’s Cancer page  is a tutorial in quantitative literacy.  From 1990 to 2019 the total number of cancer death’s in the U.S. increases 43.5%. So, cancer deaths are up. But the overall population is growing so we need to normalize and we need to  look at the death rate, which increased only 11% over the same time period.  The death rate is an obvious metric, but still really not correct.

Cancer kills mostly older people – as the death rate by age shows, of those who are 70 years and older, 1% die from cancer every year. For people who are younger than 50, the cancer death rate is more than 40-times lower (more detail here).

We would therefore expect that many more people die from cancer in an old population than in a young population. Because health is improving and fertility rates are falling, the world is aging rapidly. This impacts the change over time that we are interested in: historically, fewer died from cancer because larger parts of the population died before they reached the age when cancer becomes a common cause of death.

Epidemiologists correct for changes in age-profile over time by relying on the so called ‘age-standardized death rate’. This metric tells us what the death rate would be if the age structure of the population had stayed the same over time and would be the same across countries.

If we look at the age-standardized death rate we see a decline of 18.7% in cancer death rates. Knowing what metrics to view to understand trends is a critical quantitative literacy skill and necessary in understanding the world.

The data is available by clicking on download under the chart.

How hot are the oceans?

The abstract from The recent normalization of historical marine heat extremes by Kisei R. Tanaka and Kyle S. Van Houtan (2/1/2022) in PLOS Climate:

Climate change exposes marine ecosystems to extreme conditions with increasing frequency. Capitalizing on the global reconstruction of sea surface temperature (SST) records from 1870-present, we present a centennial-scale index of extreme marine heat within a coherent and comparable statistical framework. A spatially (1° × 1°) and temporally (monthly) resolved index of the normalized historical extreme marine heat events was expressed as a fraction of a year that exceeds a locally determined, monthly varying 98th percentile of SST gradients derived from the first 50 years of climatological records (1870–1919). For the year 2019, our index reports that 57% of the global ocean surface recorded extreme heat, which was comparatively rare (approximately 2%) during the period of the second industrial revolution. Significant increases in the extent of extreme marine events over the past century resulted in many local climates to have shifted out of their historical SST bounds across many economically and ecologically important marine regions. For the global ocean, 2014 was the first year to exceed the 50% threshold of extreme heat thereby becoming “normal”, with the South Atlantic (1998) and Indian (2007) basins crossing this barrier earlier. By focusing on heat extremes, we provide an alternative framework that may help better contextualize the dramatic changes currently occurring in marine systems.

The paper includes a link to the data (so you can reproduce the cool ridge plot here) and there are three other graph.

Which way is the wind blowing?

Curious about current wind patterns around the globe? Check out Windy.com. This is one of those posts that I’m not sure how to use it in a math class, but the website is so cool I’m posting about it. The graph here is a still image but the wind currents are shown moving in real time on the webpage. NOAA’s Climage.gov page Windy has suggestions on how to use the page in classrooms. Take a look, really, and leave a comment if you have a thought on how to use this in a math classroom.

How many billion dollar disasters in 2021?

The NOAA Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters page keeps track of these events.

During 2021, there were 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events across the United States. The total cost from these events of 2021 was $145.0 billion and is the third most costly year on record, behind 2017 and 2005. The total costs for the last five years ($742.1 billion) is more than one-third of the disaster cost total of the last 42-years (1980-2021), which exceeds $2.155 trillion (inflation-adjusted to 2021 dollars). This reflects a 5-year cost average of nearly $148.4 billion/year — a new record — as shown above by the black line.

The chart copied here is interactive on their page and has lots of information. You can also select a state or region and get a similar chart. Data can be downloaded.

What are the trends in drug overdose deaths?

The Pew article Recent surge in U.S. drug overdose deaths has hit Black men the hardest by John Gramlich (1/19/2022) provides the graph copied here.

Nearly 92,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2020, marking a 30% increase from the year before, a 75% increase over five years and by far the highest annual total on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Preliminary figures suggest that the 2021 death toll from overdoses may be even higher.

Overall

While overdose deaths in the U.S. were on the rise long before the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, such fatalities have accelerated during the pandemic, the CDC has noted.

Nationwide, the monthly number of drug overdose deaths had never exceeded 6,500 before March 2020. Between March and December 2020, there were more than 7,100 such deaths each month, including nearly 9,400 in May 2020 alone.

There does not appear to be direct links to the data but there is plenty of quantitative info in the article.

Who’s been vaccinated?

If you want data on vaccinated status the CDC page Demographic Trends of People Receiving COVID-19 Vaccination in the United States is a place to go. For example, one graph from their page is copied here and includes at least one dose by Race/Ethnicity. The graph are designed for interactivity so you don’t see categories and percent without placing a mouse pointer over the graph. Curious about the categories, then click the link.

What is interesting is they have administered data, the graph here, but also results from survey data. They aren’t the same. This seems like something to discuss or study in a stats or QL course. There are multiple interactive graphs and plenty of quantitative information.

How hot was 2021, ENSO version?

From NOAA’s Global Climate Report – Annual 2021:

The year 2021 began with an episode of cold phase El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episode, also known as La Niña, across the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, which had developed in August 2020. As seen in the graph below, ENSO can have an effect on global temperatures. La Niña episodes tend to cool global temperatures slightly, while the warm phase ENSO (also known as El Niño) tends to boost global temperatures. Although the monthly global temperatures were above average throughout the year, February 2021 was the coldest month of 2021 for the globe. The global temperature departure for February 2021 was +0.64°C (+1.15°F) — the coolest February since 2014. However, after the month of February, temperatures were at 0.80°C (1.44°F) or higher for the remaining months of 2021.

The net result:

The year culminated as the sixth warmest year on record for the globe with a temperature that was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average. The years 2013–2021 all rank among the ten warmest years on record.

Time series data available at the top. ENSO status data must be somewhere but there doesn’t appear to be a link; just the graph.

How hot was Dec 2021?

From NOAA’s Global Climate Report – December 2021:

The December 2021 global surface temperature tied with 2016 as the fifth highest in the 142-year record at 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average. Eight of the 10 warmest Decembers have occurred since 2014. December 2021 also marked the 37th consecutive December and the 444th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

Regionally?

During the month of December, the most notable warm temperature departures were present across much of the contiguous U.S. and across parts of eastern Canada, northern Mexico, and southern Asia, where temperatures were at least 2.5°C (4.5°F) above average. Record-warm December temperatures were present across a large area of the southwestern Pacific Ocean and small areas across North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, the most notable cool temperatures were observed across the western half of Canada and across parts of Scandinavia and northern Russia. However, no land or ocean areas had a record-cold December temperature.

Time series data is available at the top of the page.

What are the four most populated countries?

The U.S. Census Bureau post U.S. Population Estimated at 332,403,650 on Jan 1, 2022 by Derick Moore (12/30/2021) is a nice summary of the U.S. population.  At the bottom there is an interesting graph with, maybe, some surprises. The first is that India is expected to overtake China around 2025. Second is that Nigeria is expected to pull into third place in the 2040s.

How quickly is U.S. population growing?

In January 2022, the United States is expected to experience a birth every nine seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 130 seconds.

The combination of births, deaths and net international migration increases the U.S. population by one person every 40 seconds.

Plenty of QL info in the article and links to  various clocks, dashboards and data.