Global Health into 2030

In PLoS Medicine, Colin Mathers and Dejan Loncar’s projections of global mortality and disease through 2030.

We project that life expectancy will increase around the world for all three scenarios, fewer children younger than 5 y will die (a 50% decline under the baseline scenario), and the proportion of people dying from non-communicable diseases will increase (from 59% in 2002 to 69% in 2030 under the baseline scenario). Although deaths from infectious diseases will decrease overall, HIV/AIDS deaths will continue to increase; the exact magnitude of the increase will depend to a limited extent on how many people have access to antiretroviral drugs and much more on whether there are increased prevention efforts. Although a projected 6.5 million people will die from HIV/AIDS under the 2030 baseline projection, an even larger number will die from disease attributable to tobacco smoking (8.3 million). By 2030, the three leading causes of burden of disease will be HIV/AIDS, depression, and ischaemic heart disease in the baseline and pessimistic scenarios. Road traffic accidents are the fourth leading cause in the baseline scenario, and the third leading cause ahead of ischaemic heart disease in the optimistic scenario.

These updated projections of mortality and burden of disease have been prepared using a similar methodology to that of the original GBD study, but with some changes described above and with updated inputs and an updated base set of estimates for 2002. We have incorporated a number of methodological improvements and changes. These include carrying out the projections at country rather than regional level, use of separate regression equations for low-income countries, incorporation of information from death registration datasets on recent observed trends for selected causes, and calibration of the regression equations through a comparison of back-projections with observed child mortality trends from 1990 to 2002.