Understanding the Age-Sex Patterns of Crisis Deaths: Towards a more standard mortality estimation approach

September 22, 2023

When conflicts and natural disasters occur in countries without usable death registration data or disrupt normal death registration processes, data on crisis deaths by age and sex are often not available.

To address this evidence and knowledge gap, the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) has compiled the most comprehensive database of age-sex distributions of crisis death rates available to date, and estimated the average relative risks of mortality by age and sex for nine categories of crisis events, including conflict, natural disasters, famine and epidemics. This paper provides the best empirically based estimates of age-sex patterns of crisis deaths and death rates to date for crises without information on the detailed age and sex of deaths.

In the absence of detailed information of the number of deaths by age and sex, United Nations agencies and research groups reporting on age- and sex-specific mortality trends across countries can use these estimated age-sex patterns of crisis mortality to take into account conflicts, natural disasters and other crises that cause short-term, substantial increases in death rates.

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