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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Modeling Approach for Estimating Total Mortality for Italy During the First and Second World Wars


Estimates based on official vital statistics underestimate mortality for Italy during the World Wars. This paper uses a modeling strategy to estimate mortality for Italy based on data from both civilian and military authorities. The model uses the same principles as the one used to reconstruct war losses for England/Wales (Jdanov et al. 2005) and can be adapted to other countries even when we lack detailed knowledge of historical events during wartime. The results produce much lower estimates of life expectancy at birth for males during wartime than the previously published estimates that exclude military deaths. For example, in 1917, the former was nearly 15 years lower than the latter (31.0 versus 45.8 years).

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