Reflection on modern methods: Cause of death decomposition of cohort survival comparisons

Vladimir Canudas-Romo*, Tim Adair, Stefano Mazzuco

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Life expectancy is most commonly measured for a period (corresponding to mortality within a given year) or for a specific birth cohort. Although widely used, period and cohort life expectancy have limitations as their time-trends often show disparities and can mask the historical mortality experience of all cohorts present at a given time. The truncated cross-sectional average length of life, or TCAL, is a period measure including all available cohort mortality information, irrespective of whether all cohort members have died. It is particularly useful for comparing cohort mortality between populations. This study extends TCAL by disentangling causes of death contributions. The strength of the approach is that it allows identification of mortality differences in cohorts with members still alive, as well as identification of which ages and causes of death contribute to mortality differentials between populations. Application of the method to Japan shows that over the period 1950-2014 a major contributor to TCAL differences with other high-longevity countries was its lower cardiovascular disease mortality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1712-1718
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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