Why 2020 really was the worst year ever

At the same time, there are signs that the pandemic is disrupting normal life in ways that could have longer-lasting consequences. Data from 33 states analyzed by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press shows enrollment in K-12 public schools has declined by about 2 percent, or half a million students.

The number of students who filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, an early indication about the number of students who will apply to college, is down 18 percent — and down most significantly in rural states such as West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to The Hechinger Report, a publication that covers the education system.

Around the country, violent crime has surged to levels not seen in a quarter-century. After years of declining crime rates, murder rates are at multidecade highs in both big and small cities, from Houston and Chicago to Tacoma, Wash., and Albuquerque, N.M. Final data from the FBI won’t be released until next year, though the trends are uniformly higher.