The influence of social and economic ties to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe

Ryohei Mogi, Jeroen Spijker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


UNLABELLED: By late January 2020, the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) had reached Europe and most European countries had registered cases by March 1. However, the spread of the virus has been uneven in both prevalence and speed of propagation. We analyse the association of social, economic, and demographic factors in the initial spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 across 23 European countries between March 1 and April 30, 2020. Diagnosed COVID-19 cases from Johns Hopkins University and data from the European Social Survey and other sources were used to estimate bivariate associations between cumulative reported case numbers at ten-day intervals and nine social, demographic, and economic variables. To avoid overfitting, we first reduce these variables to three factors by factor analysis before conducting a multiple regression analysis. We also perform a sensitivity analysis using rates and new cases between two time periods. Results showed that social and economic factors are strongly and positively associated with COVID-19 throughout the studied period, while the association with population density and cultural factors was initially low, but by April, was higher than the earlier mentioned factors. For future influenza-like pandemics, implementing strict movement restrictions from early on will be crucial to curb the spread of such diseases in economically, socially, and culturally vibrant and densely populated countries.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12546-021-09257-1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Population Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)495-511
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Economic development
  • Health policy
  • Nursing homes
  • Social ties


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of social and economic ties to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this