News Release

Vulnerability to COVID-19 May be Highest in Countries Not Yet Affected by Outbreak, According to New Index from IHS Markit

Vulnerability to COVID-19 May be Highest in Countries Not Yet Affected by Outbreak, According to New Index from IHS Markit

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Country Vulnerability Index factors state of healthcare systems, economic resiliency and government capacity


IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions, today launched its COVID–19 Country Vulnerability Index, ranking countries’ capacity to deal with the virus outbreak today as well as those expected to be exposed in the coming weeks and months.

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IHS Markit State Capacity Index with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in select countries, 30 March (Graphic: Business Wire)

IHS Markit State Capacity Index with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in select countries, 30 March (Graphic: Business Wire)

The new index weighs demographics, economic vulnerability, health care capacity and state preparedness data, as well a country’s prior experience with pandemics such as SARS or Ebola and found vulnerability may be the highest in countries not yet affected by the outbreak.

“As the COVID–19 pandemic continues to spread, it is critical that governments and firms leverage rigorous data-driven tools to better anticipate and analyze risks to personnel, assets and business,” said Zbyszko Tabernacki, senior vice president, Economics and Country Risk, IHS Markit. “The COVID–19 Country Vulnerability Index brings together data and expertise from 200 economists, country risk analysts and life sciences experts, to help organizations anticipate emerging risks due to the COVID-19 outbreak around the world.”

Vulnerability among large, developed countries, including Japan, Italy and Spain results primarily from demographic variables including percent of population living in dense urban areas and particular age group structures that trend towards elderly populations. At the same time, risk is mitigated in most developed countries by strong healthcare sectors and well organized centralized crisis response infrastructures.

According to the index, some smaller developed economies like Malta, Ireland and Singapore have high levels of economic vulnerability due to a combination of trade openness, external debt as share of GDP and self-employment as a share of overall employment, which are all exacerbated by the global slowdown associated with the impact of the outbreak on global economic activity.

States like Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya with chronic deficits in state capacity are particularly vulnerable due to the inability to coordinate cohesive and effective responses to the crisis. In turn, systemic deficits in healthcare infrastructure like the number of available hospital beds in intensive care units for treating those infected by the virus and high historical fatality rates from pneumonia make countries like the Central African Republic, Guinea, and Sierra Leone highly vulnerable as well.

The index ranks 178 countries and territories on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 representing the highest vulnerability.

The Index weightings are configurable by users to enable modeling and customized scenarios, and the resulting data can be analyzed by country, by region, and in both absolute and relative terms. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, IHS Markit plans to regularly maintain and improve not only the data availability and quality but also continue to refine the underlying methodology in the pursuit of always providing the most accurate and actionable data and analysis.

For more information on the IHS Markit COVID–19 Country Vulnerability Index, please contact

For more IHS Markit research and analysis on the impact of COVID-19, visit the IHS Markit Coronavirus Resource Center.

About IHS Markit (

IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2020 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

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