Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

The GBD study is the largest and most comprehensive effort to quantify health loss across places and over time, so health systems can be improved and disparities eliminated.

607 billion+ highly standardized and comprehensive estimates measure health outcomes and systems.
459 health outcomes and risk factors, provide a powerful basis for insights on global health trends and challenges.
204 countries and territories, plus dozens of subnational locations show trends at regional, national, and local levels.
12,000 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 12,000 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


Which locations are studied in the GBD?

GBD regions are based on two criteria: epidemiological similarity and geographic closeness. To see a full list of countries and their corresponding regions, visit the GBD data and tools guide.

For some types of analysis in the GBD, seven super-regions have been established, which group regions on the basis of cause of death patterns.

What methods and data inputs were used?

We gather health data from hospitals, governments, surveys, and other databases around the world, which are then synthesized to produce the estimates we publish in our data visuals and publications. All our input sources are cataloged in the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) GBD sources tool.

Visit the GBD sources tool

Find detailed methodological information for all diseases, injuries, and risks studied in the Global Burden of Disease.

Read methods appendices


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

Learn how to use GBD Compare


How should I cite the GBD study?

To cite GBD 2021 – 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 2021 (GBD 2021). Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2024.

Find citations for past rounds of GBD


Contact us

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