One big issue with using DALYs as a proxy for suffering is that they count years of life lost due to death (up to some reference, I think the average of the longest life expectancy of any country, so 80-90 years), but you do not suffer after you are dead. I think you only want the YLDs, if you’re just trying to estimate suffering. I think some datasets will give you both DALYs and YLLs, so you can just take the difference: YLDs = DALYs—YLLs.
You might find some other useful posts with the Subjective Well-Being tag. Or, specifically, see the research by the Happier Lives Institute and Rethink Priorities on this topic.
Thank you very much. Unfortunately the source I’m using (Our World in Data) doesn’t report YLLs. Sources that report YLLs are so sparse that I couldn’t have used them for an overview. I’m also not sure whether the results I’m drawing here are in any way conclusive or whether DALYs are such a bad metric of suffering that I’m just reading tea leaves.
Hmm, this one has Deaths, YLDs and DALYs (among others in the advanced settings), so you could just use YLDs.