Survey-Based Estimates of Excess Mortality in the Covid Pandemic

We are delighted to invite you to the 12th Consumer Pyramids Research Seminar on July 15 2021 at 8.30 PM IST (11 AM ET/ 8 AM PT / 4 PM UK).

Arvind Subramanian from Brown University’s Watson Insitute for International and Public Affairs, Abhishek Anand from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Justin Sandefur from the Center for Global Development will present

Survey-Based Estimates of Excess Mortality in the Covid Pandemic

Their presentation will be discussed by Murad Banaji from Middlesex University.

You can sign up for the webinar here.


India lacks reliable nationwide estimates of the death toll from the Covid pandemic. We report excess mortality estimates from the Consumer Pyramid Household Survey (CPHS), a longitudinal panel of over 800,000 individuals across all states interviewed up to 20 times from September 2014 to April 2021. CPHS mortality estimates for the pre-Covid period exhibit several deficiencies: they often do not track mortality estimates from other sources in the aggregate, or at spatial, state, and demographic levels; and they show an inexplicable pandemic-like mortality spike in 2019 well before Covid. The reliability of the post-Covid estimates is therefore unclear. With all these caveats, and recognizing the dearth of reliable alternatives, all-India mortality data sources, we report all-cause excess death estimates for the first wave of the pandemic between May 2020 and April 2021.


- 8.30 to 9.30 PM: Paper presentation

- 9.30 to 10.00 PM: Discussion, followed by moderated Q&A

About the CPHS Research Seminar Series

The CPHS Research Seminar Series features work based on the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey. It is a platform for researchers to receive critical and technical feedback from accomplished peers. It is also meant to engage with the larger research community who may gain from technical discussions. You can find all previously presented work on the Events Section of our website. You can also view a recording of every seminar so far at the CPHS Research Seminar Playlist on our YouTube channel.

The Consumer Pyramids Household Survey is India’s largest regular household survey and the world’s largest household panel survey. CPHS has collected data on over 232,000 households and 1.19 million individuals surveyed since 2014. The survey collects information on household demographics, individual identities, employment, health status, financial inclusion, individual and household incomes, consumption expenditures, ownership of assets and intentions to buy them, household amenities and consumer sentiments. Income and expenses data are a monthly time-series since January 2014.

Record-level data from all 22 Waves of CPHS is available through a subscription service. Data from the Jan-Apr 2021 Wave of CPHS was released to subscribers on May 1, 2021. Please visit our website to learn more about CPHS and how to gain access to the record-level data.

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