The Linear Link: Deriving Age-Specific Death Rates from Life Expectancy

Marius D. Pascariu*, Ugofilippo Basellini, José Manuel Aburto, Vladimir Canudas-Romo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The prediction of human longevity levels in the future by direct forecasting of life expectancy offers numerous advantages, compared to methods based on extrapolation of age-specific death rates. However, the reconstruction of accurate life tables starting from a given level of life expectancy at birth, or any other age, is not straightforward. Model life tables have been extensively used for estimating age patterns of mortality in poor-data countries. We propose a new model inspired by indirect estimation techniques applied in demography, which can be used to estimate full life tables at any point in time, based on a given value of life expectancy at birth. Our model relies on the existing high correlations between levels of life expectancy and death rates across ages. The methods presented in this paper are implemented in a publicly available R package.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Issue number4
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Age patterns of mortality
  • Death rates
  • Forecasting
  • Indirect estimation
  • Life expectancy

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