Have Deaths Gradually Shifted From Younger to Older Ages and What Are the Implications for Underlying Mortality Dynamics?

Marcus Ebeling , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Marilia Nepomuceno, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Major mortality improvements shifted from young to old ages. Although this finding has become basic knowledge, several related questions remained open. We aim to answer three of these questions: (I) How have mortality improvements at older ages replaced those at younger ages? (II) When did old-age mortality improvements exceed those at younger ages? (III) Was there a point in time where mortality improvements at older and younger contributed equally? We avoid the use of rigid definitions of “old” and “young” by combining decomposition techniques with the novel concept of the equilibrium point between backward and forward cumulative age-contributions. Preliminary results reveal a sudden change of the equilibrium point. We observe a steep increase of this point between the 1950s and the 1970s for both sexes. The finding indicates a rapid age-shift that occurred within the period of sustained old-age mortality improvements and not, as often believed, prior to this period.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging