The Weekly Digest collects the most engaging data points and visuals from recent USAFacts stories. Dive into each report for more metrics, or skim here for a quick understanding of the numbers behind the news.

Comparing Omicron to the first COVID-19 winter

It's well-documented that winters, with more Americans gathering indoors and a plethora of holidays that bring people together, have meant high case numbers in this pandemic. But how does this Omicron surge compare to previous winters? This new report has the data to evaluate the weeks after Thanksgiving 2021 against the first COVID-19 winter.

  • Cases are higher than ever nationally, but hospitalizations and deaths haven’t increased to the same degree. In the eight weeks since Thanksgiving, COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations were 50% and 21% lower than the same time in 2020, respectively.
  • This winter, Tennessee had the nation's highest death rate. One in nearly 1,500 Tennesseans have died of COVID-19 since Thanksgiving, almost three times higher than the national death rate. However, the state had 4% fewer people testing positive this winter than last winter.

Size up the Omicron situation in your state by reading the full article here.

The changing American family

What or who constitutes as an American family is shifting. Government data and metrics show how families have changed from 80 years ago, or even just a decade ago. USAFacts pulled together the data from various reports for an exclusive snapshot for newsletter subscribers:

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  • More Americans are living alone. Eleven percent of the population — 36.9 million people —live alone, up from 8% in 1980. Single people living without kids has grown into the nation’s second-largest household by type, while married parents dropped to the third. 
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  • People are also marrying much older. That’s been the trend since the early 1960s, but data visualizations reveal the rise over the past 60 years. Women first married at 20.1 years old in 1956, and men at 22 and a half. By 2019, women first married at 28, and men married at 29.8.
  • Marriage rates are down, but the trend is more pronounced among certain races and ethnicities. Since 1990, marriage rates for white Americans have fallen 5 points, 8 points for Black Americans, and 9 points for Hispanic Americans. Asian American marriage rates have remained at 61% since 1990.
  • Rates of widowhood have decreased since 1990, though rates are still higher for women, as they tend to have longer life expectancies than men.
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  • The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. At the time, the numbers of same-sex married couples and unmarried couples were similar. Since then, married same-sex couples have risen while unmarried couples have dropped.

Data visualization leader Amanda Cox joins USAFacts

Amanda Cox, former data editor of The New York Times, has joined USAFacts as the Head of Special Data Projects. In this newly created role, Cox will work with a team create to tell the engaging data stories behind American life. She joined The New York Times in 2005, and was editor of its Upshot section from 2016 to 2022.

One last fact

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In 2020, the United States spent $680 million in assistance to Ukraine. That year, Ukraine was 17 out of 251 counties for the amount of foreign assistance provided by the US.