Measuring the importance of age

Annette Baudisch, Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging
Marcus Ebeling, Universit├Ąt Rostock

Comparing populations is greatly facilitated by means of simple indices that can
readily be calculated for populations with different characteristics. Deriving such indices,
we suggest an intuitive method to quantify the impact of age on mortality, where
age-dependence can follow any general pattern. The method only requires estimating
the constant, age-independent mortality component. Using the constant mortality scenario
as baseline, we derive two age-indices that quantify the importance of age. The
indices provide a complementary and connected perspective, where both indices can
be viewed as two sides of the same coin. We illustrate the workings and utility of the
method with various examples. The indices are envisioned to reveal general trends and
regularities that may not be (as) apparent from common perspectives. We believe that the
method presented here may prove useful, since it is simple, intuitive and closely related
to the recently developed pace-shape framework, a new perspective which is starting to
reveal interesting results in comparative studies.

Presented in Session 30: Innovations in demographic methods