Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study provides a comprehensive picture of mortality and disability across countries, time, age, and sex. It quantifies health loss from hundreds of diseases, injuries, and risk factors, so that health systems can be improved and disparities eliminated.

281,586 Data sources were synthesized to estimate mortality, health outcomes, and risks from the GBD 2019 study.
3.5 billion+ Highly standardized and comprehensive estimates of health outcome and health system measures.
350+ Health outcomes and risk factors, providing a powerful basis for insights on global health trends and challenges.
10,000+ Individuals from over 160 countries and territories collaborate in vetting GBD data sources and estimates.

What is the GBD and why is it important?

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) is the single largest and most detailed scientific effort ever conducted to quantify levels and trends in health. Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, it is truly a global effort, with over 9,000 researchers from more than 160 countries and territories participating in the most recent update.

GBD creates a unique platform to compare the magnitude of diseases, injuries, and risk factors across age groups, sexes, countries, regions, and time. For decision-makers, health sector leaders, researchers, and informed citizens, the GBD approach provides an opportunity to compare their countries’ health progress to that of other countries, and to understand the leading causes of health loss that could potentially be avoided, like high blood pressure, smoking, and household air pollution.

Learn more GBD history


Who works on the GBD study?

The GBD study is one of the world’s largest scientific collaborations and involves thousands of researchers around the world. It includes a Scientific Council, a Management Team, a Core Analytic Team, and a robust network of global Collaborators working together to produce the most accurate, up‐to‐date, and comparable estimates of burden worldwide.

Learn about governance

Collaborate on the GBD


How is the GBD study conducted?

The GBD produces regular estimates of all‐cause mortality, deaths by cause, years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs), years lived with disability (YLDs), and disability‐adjusted life years (DALYs).

The critical milestones for ongoing estimation include regular updates to the GBD estimates, referred to as the “GBD cycle.” For each cycle, the entire time series back to 1990 is re‐estimated using all available data to ensure the most complete and highly comparable set of estimates possible. Previous results will be archived every time new results are released.

The GBD protocol covers the key principles and assumptions, products, roles and responsibilities, processes, and architecture of the GBD study.

Read the GBD protocol


What methods and data inputs were used?

We start by gathering health data from hospitals, governments, surveys, and other databases around the world. Our research teams then clean and sort the data and use modeling tools to generate estimates for locations and years where data are not available. Those results are released as part of each GBD cycle and made available through our results tools, data visuals, and publications.

Transparency is one of our core principles, and we are working to help expand access to the raw data and methodology that we use in our evaluations.

More details on our methods and specific processes for each area of study can be found within our peer-reviewed publications.

View GBD publications

Learn about data transparency


Where can I get help using GBD tools?

Our data visuals may need significant time and internet bandwidth to load. If you are having trouble loading a visualization, we suggest that you refresh the page. We also suggest that you access the visualizations with the most up-to-date version of your internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari).

For slower internet connections, we recommend viewing the country profiles and disease, injury, and risk factsheets.

For additional help with the data visualizations, read the GBD data and tools guide or watch tutorials on our data visualizations.

We also offer an online training, which provides a general overview of the GBD to help learners understand the conceptual framework, the key metrics, and the analytical strategies used in the study.

View training opportunities


How can I cite GBD?

To cite GBD 2019 – the most recent round of Global Burden of Disease results – use the following citation:

Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 (GBD 2019). Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2020.

Find citations for past rounds of GBD


I still have questions, who do I contact?

To contact the GBD Management Team, please email [email protected].

For other general questions about our GBD work, please email [email protected].

GBD concepts and terms defined