Pandemic Misery Index: States and Texas MSAs

Authors: Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier Date: September 2020

How does Texas’ response to the coronavirus pandemic compare to that of other states? In this issue of PERCspectives on Policy, Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, and Andrew J. Rettenmaier discuss which states, and which metro areas within Texas, have been more effective at dealing with Covid-19 using a Pandemic Misery Index.
The Pandemic Misery Index (PMI) balances health risk and economic risk by combining the average unemployment rate starting in March and the total number of deaths due to the coronavirus per 10,000 people in each state. A low unemployment rate and number of fatalities indicate greater effectiveness and equate to a lower PMI score. With both high unemployment rates and high death rates, New York and New Jersey have the highest PMI scores, while Utah and Nebraska hold the lowest PMI scores. Within Texas, the College Station-Bryan MSA held the third-lowest PMI, beat by the Abilene MSA in second place and the Sherman-Denison MSA in first place.

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Keywords: Pandemic misery index, unemployment, covid-19, fatalities, Texas