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The casualties of war: an excess mortality estimate of lives lost in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Karlinsky, Ariel and Torrisi, Orsola ORCID: 0000-0003-1760-679X (2023) The casualties of war: an excess mortality estimate of lives lost in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Population Research and Policy Review, 42 (3). ISSN 0167-5923

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11113-023-09790-2


Who and how many died in the 2020 Karabakh War? With limited evidence provided by authorities, media outlets, and human rights organizations, still little is known about the death toll caused by the 44-day conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. This paper provides a first assessment of the human cost of the war. Using age–sex vital registration data from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the de facto Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, we difference the 2020 observed mortality values from expected deaths based on trends in mortality between 2015 and 2019 to offer sensible estimates of excess mortality resulting from the conflict. We compare and contrast our findings with neighboring peaceful countries with similar mortality patterns and socio-cultural background and discuss them against the backdrop of the concurrent first wave of Covid-19. We estimate that the war led to almost 6,500 excess deaths among people aged 15–49. Nearly 2,800 excess losses occurred in Armenia, 3,400 in Azerbaijan, and 310 in de facto Artsakh. Deaths were highly concentrated among late adolescent and young adult males, suggesting that most excess mortality was directly related to combat. Beyond the human tragedy, for small countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan, such loss of young men represents a considerable long-term cost for future demographic, economic, and social development.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 13:12
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 02:21

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