Excess mortality

Term used in epidemiology and public health to define the number of deaths which occurred in a given crisis above and beyond what we would have expected to see under ‘normal’ conditions. The WHO define ‘excess mortality’ as “mortality above what would be expected based on the non-crisis mortality rate in the population of interest. Excess mortality is thus mortality that is attributable to the crisis conditions. It can be expressed as a rate (the difference between observed and non-crisis mortality rates), or as a total number of excess deaths.” To calculate ‘excess mortality’ in a given period, the number of people who had died over this period is compared with the number expected to have died (WHO, 2008).

Share this page: