A modeling approach for estimating total mortality for Italy during the First and Second World Wars

Dmitri A. Jdanov, Dana A. Glei, Domantas Jasilionis


Estimates based on official vital statistics underestimate mortality for Italy during the World Wars. This paper uses a modelling 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 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. These findings demonstrate the importance of adjusting for war losses for countries that sustain combat-related mortality. Failure to do so risks vastly underestimating mortality among males in particular.

Dimitri A. JDANOV Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Konrad-Zuse-Str. 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany. E-mail:

Dana A. GLEI, Georgetown University, 5985 San Aleso Ct., Santa Rosa, CA, 95409-3912, US. E-mail:

Domantas JASILIONIS, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research,  Konrad-Zuse-Str. 1, 18057 Rostock, Germany.  E-mail:



DOI: 10.4402/genus-80


Italy; First World War; Second World War; population estimates; mortality; military deaths

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ISSN: 2035-5556

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