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Measuring the compression of mortality

Author

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  • Väinö Kannisto

    (Max-Planck-Institut für Demografische Forschung)

Abstract

Compression of mortality is measured here in four ways: (1) by standard deviation of the age at death above the mode; (2) by standard deviation of the age at death in the highest quartile; (3) by the inter-quartile range; and (4) by the shortest age interval in which a given proportion of deaths take place. The two first-mentioned are directed at old ages while the other two measure compression over the entire age range. The fourth alternative is recommended as the most suitable for general use and offers several variations, called the C-family of compression indicators. Applied to historical and modern populations, all four measures show convincingly that the secular transition from high to low mortality has been accompanied by general and massive compression of mortality. In recent decades, however, this development has come close to stagnation even when life expectancy continues to increase. This has happened at a level where compression is still so incomplete that the shortest age interval in which 90 percent of deaths occur, is more than 35 years. It seems unrealistic to expect human mortality ever to be compressed into so narrow an age interval that the survival curve would be even approximately rectangular. It is considered useful to monitor changes in the compression of mortality because the indicators describe relevant aspects of the length of life and may acquire new significance as indicators of population heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Väinö Kannisto, 2000. "Measuring the compression of mortality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(6), September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:3:y:2000:i:6
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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1978:68:10:954-956_2 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marie Robine & Siu Lan Karen Cheung & Shiro Horiuchi, 2010. "Arthur Roger Thatcher's contributions to longevity research," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(18), pages 539-548, March.
    2. Shripad Tuljapurkar & Ryan D. Edwards, 2011. "Variance in death and its implications for modeling and forecasting mortality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 24(21), pages 497-526, March.
    3. Glenn Firebaugh & Francesco Acciai & Aggie Noah & Christopher Prather & Claudia Nau, 2014. "Why Lifespans Are More Variable Among Blacks Than Among Whites in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2025-2045, December.
    4. France Meslé & Jacques Vallin, 2002. "Montée de l'espérance de vie et concentration des âges au décès," Working Papers 108, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
    5. Claudia Nau & Glenn Firebaugh, 2012. "A New Method for Determining Why Length of Life is More Unequal in Some Populations Than in Others," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1207-1230, November.
    6. Isaac Sasson, 2016. "Trends in Life Expectancy and Lifespan Variation by Educational Attainment: United States, 1990–2010," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 269-293, April.
    7. Marie-Pier Bergeron-Boucher & Marcus Ebeling & Vladimir Canudas-Romo, 2015. "Decomposing changes in life expectancy: Compression versus shifting mortality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(14), pages 391-424, September.
    8. Virginia Zarulli & Domantas Jasilionis & Dmitri A. Jdanov, 2012. "Changes in educational differentials in old-age mortality in Finland and Sweden between 1971-1975 and 1996-2000," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(19), pages 489-510, May.
    9. Chiara Gigliarano & Ugofilippo Basellini & Marco Bonetti, 2014. "Concentration in survival times and longevity: The log-scale-location family of failure time models," Working Papers 066, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    10. Nadine Ouellette & Robert Bourbeau, 2011. "Changes in the age-at-death distribution in four low mortality countries: A nonparametric approach," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(19), pages 595-628, September.
    11. Gregory Ponthiere, 2009. "Rectangularization And The Rise In Limit-Longevity In A Simple Overlapping Generations Model," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 77(1), pages 17-46, January.
    12. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0584-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Patrick Meyer & Grégory Ponthière, 2016. "Human Lifetime Entropy in a Historical Perspective (1750-2014)," PSE Working Papers halshs-01409679, HAL.
    14. Alyson Raalte & Hal Caswell, 2013. "Perturbation Analysis of Indices of Lifespan Variability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(5), pages 1615-1640, October.
    15. Chiara Gigliarano & Ugofilippo Basellini & Marco Bonetti, 2017. "Longevity and concentration in survival times: the log-scale-location family of failure time models," Lifetime Data Analysis: An International Journal Devoted to Statistical Methods and Applications for Time-to-Event Data, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 254-274, April.
    16. Joseph T. Lariscy & Claudia Nau & Glenn Firebaugh & Robert A. Hummer, 2016. "Hispanic-White Differences in Lifespan Variability in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(1), pages 215-239, February.
    17. Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthiere, 2012. "On the Policy Implications of Changing Longevity," CESifo Working Paper Series 3926, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    length of life; mortality; mortality analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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