The Cross-Sectional Inequality in Lifespan (Cal†): a Measure of Lifespan Variation That Reflects Mortality History of Cohorts

Marília Nepomuceno , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR)
Qi Cui, London School of Economics and Political Science
Alyson A. Van Raalte, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR)
Jose Manuel Aburto, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Australian National University

Lifespan variation is a key metric of mortality that describes both the individual uncertainty in length of life and the heterogeneity in population health. To date, most empirical studies of long-term trends in lifespan variation have been conducted from period life tables, a temporal dimension which corresponds to a hypothetical cohort. We introduce a new dimension of lifespan variation, named Cross-sectional Average Inequality in Lifespan (CAL† ). Opposed to one-period or one-cohort measures, CAL† combines the mortality experience of several all cohorts present in a cross-sectional approach. We further demonstrate how to decompose by age and cohort the gap in CAL† between populations. Our findings show a declining trend in CAL† and a negative correlation between CAL† and its correspondent longevity measure, CAL. By comparing cohort, period and cross-sectional lifespan variation measures, CAL† reveals higher uncertainty in the timing of death than the period life table-based index. The decomposition of the differences in CAL reveals that decreases in lifespan variation depend on the cohort and the ages at which mortality is lower. CAL† is a novel and timely lifespan variation measure that provides an alternative insight into the analysis of lifespan variation.

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 Presented in Session 30. Life Tables and Applications