Scenario: country differences

Despite all charts and lists comparing casualties and cases of COVID19 across the world, countries are different in size, population, demographics and culture. A country like Sweden has around the same size as Italy but 1/6 of the population. Whereas Italy has a very large percentage of elderly and these often live in three generation households, most Swedish elderly live independently.

Household compositions vary between different countries and cultures. This includes the average number of people that are living in a household, the number of households that include children or elderly people, as well as multi-generation households with both children and elderly people. As different countries show different spreading patterns it can be assumed that household compositions have an impact on the spread of the corona virus. 


In this scenario, we explore how different policies result in potentially different outcomes based on demographic differences.

Scenario description

To investigate and compare the effect different household compositions have on measures against the spread of corona virus, four scenarios are defined: Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia, and North America. They represent typical household configurations in these regions. Respective data comes from the 2017 UN report on household size and composition (Link) as well as from national statistics and census databases.

Simulation settings / Model configurations

The number of agents in this simulation is around 300, calculated based on the demographics as described below. This number is too low to really enable to see large differences between the simulated demographics. We are currently working on larger scale simulations that should show the differences more clearly.

  • Mediterranean
    • Adults rooming together: 30%
    • Retired couple: 42%
    • Family: 26%
    • Multi-generational: 2%
    • Number of people: 250 (2.5 per household)
  • Scandinavia
    • Adults rooming together: 49%
    • Retired couple: 27%
    • Family: 23%
    • Multi-generational: 1%
    • Number of people: 220 (2.2 per household)
  • Southeast Asia
    • Adults rooming together: 15%
    • Retired couple: 22%
    • Family: 51%
    • Multi-generational: 12%
    • Number of people: 310 (3.1 per household)
  • North America
    • Adults rooming together: 37%
    • Retired couple: 33%
    • Family: 28%
    • Multi-generational: 2%
    • Number of people: 260 (2.6 per household)


The comparison of the different countries shows higher peaks of infected individuals for countries with a lower ratio of single households and higher ratios of family or even multi-generational households. Even though the infection developments and peaks are similar between different household configurations, death rate seems higher in the mediterranaen and north american scenario, which might be due to higher number of elderly households. It can also be observed that the initial increase of infected individuals is less steep in the scandinavian scenario, where the ratio of single households is highest.

Southeast Asia
North America

These are first results based on preliminary models. More results and analysis will be added continuously. Contact us, if you have more detailed demographic models of these regions, or would like to see the results for other types of demographics.

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