A flexible two-dimensional mortality model for use in indirect estimation

John Wilmoth*, Sarah Zureick, Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Mie Inoue, Cheryl Sawyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Mortality estimates for many populations are derived using model life tables, which describe typical age patterns of human mortality. We propose a new system of model life tables as a means of improving the quality and transparency of such estimates. A flexible two-dimensional model was fitted to a collection of life tables from the Human Mortality Database. The model can be used to estimate full life tables given one or two pieces of information: child mortality only, or child and adult mortality. Using life tables from a variety of sources, we have compared the performance of new and old methods. The new model outperforms the Coale-Demeny and UN model life tables. Estimation errors are similar to those produced by the modified Brass logit procedure. The proposed model is better suited to the practical needs of mortality estimation, since both input parameters are continuous yet the second one is optional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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