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Quick Takes

Funding for Startups with Female Founders Grew by 70 Percent Last Decade

Source: PitchBook, 2020

Venture capital funding grew exponentially for startups that had at least one female founder, finishing the decade at 12% of all funding, up from 7% 10 years prior. The tech industry took the lion’s share, pouring $27 billion in the same period into U.S. startups with female founders.

Still, the pace of funding for female-only founded startups is still hovering below 3%. Despite more than $1.5 trillion invested in VC deals worldwide last decade, the portion of funding going toward female-only startups in the United States only grew from 2.6% in 2009 to 2.8% in 2019. 

The incline trend should continue, nonetheless, with greater inclusion of female entrepreneurship and persisting high volumes of capital funding — 2018 and 2019 saw a surge in VC funding that has yet to lose steam.

Concern for Hunger and Homelessness Reaches 20-Year Peak in US

Source: Gallup

For the first time in nearly two decades, the majority of Americans are worried about hunger and homelessness to a great extent. Concerns over poverty are at their highest point in the 20 years that Gallup has tracked this issue, having increased eight percentage points since last year.

A study shows that chronic homelessness is expected to increase by 49% in the U.S. due to economic complications stemming from the pandemic. Economists predict homelessness will peak in 2023, with over 600,000 at risk of losing their homes. 

When it comes to providing enough food for their household, about 22 million — or 11% — of all U.S. adults fall short, while 77% of U.S. adults cite financial restraints in obtaining food. COVID-19 has shown how fragile the global food system is, but collaboration between farmers, consumers, funders, governments, businesses and NGOs can help move the country to a healthier system. 

The Rising Urgency of Climate Change-Related Health Crises

Source: Marsh McLennan

Climate change is exacerbating existing health risks and costs and creating new ones. These effects will intensify over time and greatly challenge health care and life sciences, according to a new interactive climate health navigator, Climate Health Threat Illustrator, from Marsh McLennan. 

The data shows that 8.2 million annual excess deaths — or 73 deaths out of every 100,000 people — are forecast worldwide for 2100 due to extreme temperatures in a high-emissions scenario. In addition, 300 million people already live on land that will likely be underwater or annually flooded by 2050 due to sea-level rise, even in a low-emissions scenario. Health and socioeconomic disparities will continue to widen, as people and countries least able to cope are hardest hit.

How can health care providers, payers, life sciences and employers proactively respond to these challenges? Building resilience and reducing emissions are critical to mitigate potentially devastating climate-related health outcomes. Organizations can ensure continuity of care during crises and prepare for intensifying demands in the future. Industry leaders are also curbing their own emissions while incentivizing health care and life sciences to do the same. 

 

Rise in Carbon Emissions Brings Concern Over Building Sector’s Carbon Footprint

Source: The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction (5th edition)

The operation of global buildings reached their highest-ever carbon emissions level in 2019 at 28% of total global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, pushing the sector further away from achieving its Paris Agreement goals. That number jumps to 38% when emissions from building construction is accounted for, according to this year’s Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction

This year’s report highlights the disruptions from COVID-19 in the building and construction sectors, as well as introduces a new index to track the progress of climate initiatives. The pandemic slowed global construction activity, which led to a drop in global energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions — 5% and 7%, respectively. 

But COVID-19 also grew interest in and the market for “green” buildings as governments and key players in the buildings and construction sector plan for a post-COVID green recovery. However, these commitments and initiatives will need to rapidly increase in scale to get on track for a net-zero carbon building plan by 2050.

South Asia Sees a Shrinking Middle Class and Surge in Poverty

Source: Pew Research Center

More people moved into poverty in South Asia in 2020 compared to other regions globally, reversing years of progress in the region. South Asia also saw the biggest decline in its middle class, which decreased by 32 million people, while East Asia and the Pacific lost 19 million, according to Pew Research Center. 

Globally, there were 54 million fewer people in the middle class in 2020 than the pre-pandemic forecasted number. The global population living in poverty rose to an estimated 803 million — compared to the 672 million that was initially expected pre-pandemic. “The steep rise in global poverty is driven by the fact that many who were in the low-income tier prior to the pandemic lived on the margin of poverty,” according to Pew. 

The path to recovery remains unclear as regions start to revive their economies — although vaccine distribution has led to a rise in consumer confidence. The pace and strength of the recovery will depend on access to medical supplies, governmental support and regional economic and societal status prior to COVID-19.

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