09. Calculating emergency demographic data


Learning Outcome

At the end of the activity, the students should be able to calculate commonly used emergency metrics for demography


Please read pages 6-8 and 22-23 in the book chapter: Public Health in Humanitarian Action.


In emergencies, many of the baseline demographic data are likely to remain fairly constant (e.g. the age distribution, or the birth rate, at least for the first 9 months). However, mortality may increase. The threshold for calling something an acute health emergency is often expressed as a situation where:
- the number of deaths is >10,000/day,
- the number of deaths to children aged under five is > 2/10,000 children under five per day

Take quiz

Question 11 pts

You are a supply chain manager, and you have arrived in a camp of refugees of about 10,000 people in a sub-Saharan African country. You want to assess whether the mortality in the camp is above the threshold level for acute emergencies. You have been told that 14 people have died over the last week. How many would that be per day per 10,000?

Question 21 pts

Is this above the threshold for acute health emergency?

Question 31 pts

Out of the 14 who died, 7 were children under the age of 5. How many would that be per 10,000 children under five per day?

Question 41 pts

Is this above the threshold for acute health emergency?

Question 51 pts

If the refugee camp had similar levels of mortality as ‘the baseline' (that is, what would have been expected in a similar population which was not in an emergency) approximately how many deaths would you expect per day?