At minimum, between 123,000 and 134,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a direct consequence of the war's violence since the March 2003 invasion. For a variety of reasons, this number may double when a better count is reached. More have been wounded by bombs, bullets, and the fire that is often triggered by bombing. The violence continues: during 2012, Iraq Body Count (IBC) recorded 4,570 civilian deaths from violence. 2012 marked the first year since 2009 in which IBC’s death toll for the year increased (up from 4,147 in 2011).
The Bush administration assured all before the war that great care would be taken to avoid harm to civilians. The use of precision-guided bombs was stressed. Despite this assurance, most of the coalition caused deaths were due to air attack. As killing by coalition forces declined later in the war, insurgent and sectarian violence increased.
Despite the billions committed to aiding and reconstructing Iraq, the country remains devastated by the war. Many parts of the country still suffer from lack of access to clean drinking water and housing. Some large number of people have died as an indirect result of the war, specifically its effect on the systems that provide health care and clean drinking water. As the direct war death declines, the indirect harm will continue until medical and other infrastructure is repaired.
The figures for the number of Iraqi civilians killed have been clouded somewhat by arguments about methods for counting the dead and by politics inside Iraq and in the US.
Yet to focus on the arguments about how to record the dead and wounded obscures the human toll of the war. What can be said, after reviewing the evidence, is that the conservative 123,000 estimate for civilians killed by direct war-related violence is low, perhaps very low. On the higher end, a 2006 study published by The Lancet estimated 654,965 excess deaths related to the war.
Approximately 2.8 million people remain either internally displaced or have fled the country. This means that 1 in 12 Iraqis are still displaced from their homes. Unemployment is high. The health of women and children is the most vulnerable in Iraq and many Iraqis are hungry, and dependent on rations.
As Iraqis continue to die, increasing numbers of children are orphaned and must live in institutions. Iraqi officials and orphanage staff struggle to care for Iraq's orphaned children in state facilities that are under-resourced and understaffed . (Page updated as of March 2013)
IMAGE on Iraq anniversary page: A woman walks past the scene of a bomb attack in Baghdad Jan. 29, 2007. A bomb in a small bus killed one civilian and wounded five others, police said. (REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz)
 Central Statistics Organization, Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office, Ministry of Health, and UNICEF, "Iraq: monitoring the situation of children and women," (2011), https://dl.dropbox.com/u/21257622/MICS4_Iraq_FinalReport_2011_Eng.pdf