Demographic Analysis of Armed Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis: The Complex Case of Evaluating Elevated Mortality and the US-Led War in Iraq, 2003-2011

Laura Braslow, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)

Since 2003, researchers have attempted to estimate the death toll of the US-led war in Iraq, particularly as relates to civilian casualties of American and Coalition forces’ military engagement in the country. Evaluation of Iraq war mortality has been a focus of great public interest and political relevance. Yet, as in any context where data is scarce and often contested there are significant challenges of definition and measurement, and research has produced widely varying estimates. In addition, as Reed (2007) and others have argued, it is critical for demographers to seek to understand the specificity of age- and gender-specific mortality in individual conflict scenarios. This study evaluates the quality and results of studies estimating the extent of and demographic variation in elevated civilian mortality, both direct (as a result of violence) and indirect (from other causes attributable to the conflict), during the eight years of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

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Presented in Poster Session 7