The Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate for the Baghdad portion of the 23rd May 2004 Associated Press (AP) survey of Iraqi morgues was made possible by examination of the detailed data supplied to AP by the morgues, in which the statistics were broken down by region and by month. IBC has previously covered the Baghdad morgue for the period from mid-April through September 2003, recorded in IBC entries x132 & x172. The current entry, x334, only provides totals for October 2003 through March 2004, so that it only needs to draw upon a six-month portion of AP's 12-month report.

The "raw" statistics for this period were then adjusted as follows:

  1. To allow for the sentence in the reports which reads "Also, the bodies of killed fighters from groups like the al-Mahdi Army are rarely taken to morgues," an estimate of "between 1 in 50 to 1 in 25" was used to represent the "rare" presence of fighters in the morgue statistics. AP's Baghdad figure was accordingly reduced by 4 per cent and 2 percent to produce "fighter-free" minimum and maximum estimates.
  2. These numbers were further reduced by morgue data for the equivalent 2002-2003 periods (and locations) to provide an adjustment for normal "background" death rates unattributable to the war and its aftermath. It is only the difference between the pre- and post-invasion rates which are recorded here.
  3. Deaths which may already have been recorded by IBC from other reporting for the locations and periods concerned were subtracted from the totals obtained after step 2 to avoid overlaps and double-counting (See the "Details..." note to x073 for an example of the Methodology used in such instances).
  4. We also allowed for the statement from the director of statistics at the Baghdad morgue that "The figure [reported by the morgue] does not include most people killed in big terrorist bombings": Where there were existing, potentially-overlapping records of this nature identified in step 3, above, those overlaps were reduced by "half+1" for overlaps smaller than 10 and by 60 per cent for larger ones — "60 per cent" being our interpretation of the term "most" as used here.

As noted by AP, absent from this data are records from morgues which did not participate in or respond to AP's survey — it should not therefore be considered comprehensive.