Variation as a Theme: Variability Trends during Mortality Transitions

Michal Engelman, Johns Hopkins University

An inverse relationship between life expectancy and the variance of the age of death is a corollary of mortality rectangularization. In this paper, we examine the variability around life expectancies at birth and for those surviving to post-reproductive ages, comparing within- and cross-national trends in variability during major mortality transitions in industrialized nations. While the variance of the full distribution of life-table ages at death has decreased markedly with rising life expectancy, the variance of adult ages at death has remained fairly constant over time, with slight recent increases in some nations. We contrast the divergence in life expectancies at birth and in the post-reproductive years with the convergence observed in their associated measures of variability. Persistent heterogeneity at older ages due to delayed mortality selection may partially explain why the variation in the adult ages at death has not diminished.

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Presented in Poster Session 7