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Age- and stage-based matrix projection models (MPMs) capture major components of life history strategy. These strategies include the balances of trade-offs among demographic components throughout the life-cycle and mold mortality and fertility trajectories. Species’ life history strategies have been shaped by millions of years of adaptive and neutral evolution over their shared phylogenetic tree. One might expect closely related species to share similar traits. Traits where this is observed are said to have high phylogenetic signal but signal strength depends on factors including the amount of selection acting on the trait (i.e. adaptation), the degree of environmental canalization, and measurement error. We present some results of an exploration of phylogenetic signal in demographic traits calculated from MPMs in the COMPADRE and COMADRE Plant and Animal Matrix Databases and compare them to those of morphological traits. We consider how our results may affect the concept of “borrowing strength” whereby unknown values for some species can be inferred if traits of relatives elsewhere in the phylogeny are known. This is potentially of great interest to workers in population management and conservation fields.