The Demographic and Socio-Economic Distribution of Excess Mortality during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda


Year: 2009 HiCN Working Paper No. 054

There is an extensive literature on violent conflicts such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but few papers examine the profiles of victims and perpetrators, or more broadly the micro-level dynamics of widespread violence. This paper studies the demographic consequences of the Rwandan genocide and how the excess mortality due to the conflict was distributed in the population. Data collected by the 2000 Demographic and Health Survey indicate that although there were more deaths across the entire population, adult males were the most likely to die. Using the characteristics of the survey respondent as a proxy for the socio-economic status of the family dead, the results also show that individuals with an urban or more educated background were more likely to die. Over and above the human tragedies, a long-term cost of the genocide is the country’s loss of productive skills.

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