This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Malaria May Be a Bigger Global Load Than We Thought

Chris Murray and his colleagues at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington have just published a paper in The Lancet suggesting that the number of deaths from malaria may be double what we thought it was. The Washington Post picks up the story:
The number of people who die annually of malaria is roughly double the current estimate, with a huge overlooked death toll in adults who, according to conventional teaching, rarely die of the tropical disease. That’s the conclusion of a new study that, if widely accepted, could affect billions of dollars of charitable spending and foreign aid in the developing world. The new estimate is likely to spur increased competition for global health spending, which has stalled in the economic downturn.According to the new calculations, global malaria deaths peaked in 2004 at 1.81 million but by 2010 had fallen to 1.24 million. That year, 524,000 people age 5 or older died of the disease — about 42 percent of the global toll.
In contrast, the World Health Organization estimates that 655,000 died of malaria in 2010, with 91,000 — 14 percent — being people age 5 and older. The WHO agrees that malaria deaths peaked in 2004.
Malaria was eliminated from the United States in 1951 and from Europe in 2009. More than 90 percent of deaths from the infection now occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where children are at highest risk.
These data are consistent with our own work in Accra, Ghana where we find that malaria continues to be a big concern among residents. We know, for example, that malaria accounted for 38 percent of health clinic outpatient visits in Greater Accra in 2005, and 43 percent of women in the our recently completed Women's Health Survey of Accra, Wave II, reported having malaria in the prior year. Our focus groups have also revealed that people name malaria as the number one health issue for them.


  1. Just ran across this article on demographics and economics and would enjoy hearing your ideas, if you have not already covered this material:

    Thanks for the blog.

  2. Also, am still waiting for your answer on the Yemen article, if you are willing, but you posted it some time ago so I am wondering if perhaps you haven't read my question. (That happens to me too at my blog.)