January 28th, 2008
Last September, the British polling firm ORB issued a report estimating that 1.2 million Iraqis had died. After criticism, ORB announced that they would conduct additional surveys in rural areas to check their results. the implication was that they had undersampled rural areas, which might have inflated their mortality estimate. At that time, they stated that they expected the additional results to be available by early October. Well it’s now late January and they have just released their revised results. They now estimate that their estimate of 1.2 million deaths should be revised downward to 1,033,000 with a range of 946,000 and 1,120,000. Here is their press release:
New analysis ‘confirms’ 1 million+ Iraq casualties
January 28th 2008
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Further survey work undertaken by ORB, in association with its research partner IIACSS, confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003.
Following responses to ORB’s earlier work, which was based on survey work undertaken in primarily urban locations, we have conducted almost 600 additional interviews in rural communities. By and large the results are in line with the ‘urban results’ and we now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account the margin of error associated with survey data of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000.
Our revised estimate – which compares to a figure of 1.2 million published in August 2007 – is based on a representative sample of 2,414 adults aged 18+. They were asked the following question:-
How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (i.e. as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)? Please note that I mean those who were actually living under your roof? None
Four or more
- * = figure more than zero but less than 0.5%
- Note: Of the 251 people who declined to give an answer the large majority (66%) were interviewed in Baghdad.
Among the over 2,160 respondents who answered the question 20% said that there had been at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict which started in 2003. Within these households the average number of deaths was 1.26 people.
The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 indicated a total of 4,050,597 households. Based on this our data suggests a total of 1,033,239 deaths since March 2003. Given that the statistical margin of error on a sample of approximately 2,160 people is +1.7% (for findings at or near 20%) the possible range of casualties implied by our data is:
Estimated number of deaths from conflict since 2003
Margin of error on finding at or near 20% (on sample of c. 2,160)
Maximum estimated number of deaths from conflict since 2003
Minimum estimated number of deaths from conflict since 2003
% households with deaths
Mean casualties per household (of those with at least one death)
Est. # h/holds in Iraq
Estimated total number of casualties
Base: 2,163 Iraqi adults answering question
Detailed analysis (which is available on our website) indicates that over two-fifths of households in Baghdad have lost a family member, higher than in any other area of the country. Meanwhile among those willing to declare their doctrine (and for quite obvious reasons about half those interviewed prefer to simply describe themselves as Muslims) those from Sunni households (33%) were significantly more likely to say the conflict had claimed a household member. The respective figure for Shias being half that figure (16%).
§ Results based on face-to-face interviews amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,414 adults aged 18+. Interviews conducted throughout Iraq – 1,824 in urban areas and 590 around rural sampling points.
§ The survey methodology utilized multi-stage random probability sampling and covers fifteen of Iraq’s eighteen governorates. Overall 112 unique sampling points were covered – 92 in urban areas and 20 in rural locations.
§ For reasons surrounding interviewer safety Karbala and Al Anbar were not included in this research. Irbil is also excluded as the local authorities refused our fieldwork team a permit to operate. We feel that the net result of these exclusions –two areas of relatively high volatility since 2003 and one relatively stable – is that the casualty estimates reported are unlikely to overstate the actual figure.
§ The first batch of interviews was completed August 12th – 19th 2007 with the ‘rural booster’ conducted 20th – 24th September, 2007.
§ At the 95% confidence level the ‘margin of error’ on the sample who answered (2,163) is +2.1%. This figure is applicable to findings at or near 50% while for findings in the region of 20% this margin drops to +1.7%
§ Full results and data tabulations are available at www.opinion.co.uk/newsroom
§ IIACSS (Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies) is a polling/ research company established in Iraq in 2003 and which has a network of interviewers covering all regions of the country. Further information about IIACSS and its founding director Dr. Munqith Dagher can be found within the relevant news article in the Newsroom section of ORB’s website.
§ ORB is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
For further information please contact Allan Hyde on 020 7611 5270 or email email@example.com
The Opinion Research Business
34 Bedford Row
Tel: 020 7611 5270
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