Knowing how many donkeys there are in specific countries where welfare is compromised is a key concern for targeting efforts to improve donkey welfare. Additionally, accurate population estimates are vital for providing evidence and addressing the impact of population threats. The FAO annually report the number of donkeys and mules in each country. The last paper to investigate global and region trends dates back to 2000 and used FAO data from 1961 to 1997. This paper is an update focusing on global, regional and country level donkey and mule populations to understand if there have been any changes in the trends reported by the previous study between 1997 and 2018. Results show that the general trend identified between 1961 and 1997 is continuing with the number of donkeys globally increasing at a rate of ~1% per annum whilst mule populations are in decline at a rate of ~2% per annum. Results also suggest that the trend identified in the original paper are still evident today with the largest increases in donkey population seen in the sub-Saharan African region and greatest reduction noted in Eastern Europe with these two regions having different socio-economic drivers influencing these changes. These results highlight the multifaceted socio-economic drivers influence changes in donkey and mule populations demonstrating the complexity of designing targeted one-welfare approaches. Whilst the FAO donkey and mule datasets are the best available for understanding spatial-temporal distributions in populations there needs to be greater effort to promote the communication of information from the country level to the FAO. This can be directly supported by NGO’s by promoting the robustness of the FAO process for collating and disseminating this information. NGO’s should also seek to highlight the importance of this information for understanding global regional and country level drivers for equid population changes and potential threats to welfare as well as using this information to facilitate projects that support one-welfare approaches.