Mortality Measurement at Advanced Ages
Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago
Estimation of hazard rates at extremely old ages poses serious challenges to researchers. Using data from the Social Security Administration Death Master File allowed us to estimate hazard rates for a set of very large single-year extinct birth cohorts (1884-1889) on a monthly basis. We found that mortality at advanced ages follows the Gompertz law up to the ages 102-105 years without a significant deceleration. Additional measures of quality control demonstrated that population subgroups with better age reporting do not show mortality deceleration (deviation of mortality from the Gompertz law). Earlier reports of mortality deceleration at ages below 100 appear to be artifacts of mixing together several birth cohorts with different mortality levels and using cross-sectional instead of cohort data.