The choice among past trends as a basis for the prediction of future trends in old-age mortality
Population Studies , Volume 61 - Issue 3 p. 315- 326
We explored the extent to which projections of future old-age mortality trends differ when different projection bases are used. For seven European countries, four alternative sets of annual rates of mortality change were estimated with age-period log-linear regression models, and subsequently applied to age-specific all-cause mortality rates (80+) in 1999 to predict mortality levels up to 2050. On average, up to 2050, e80 is predicted to increase further by 2.33 years among men and 4.03 years among women. Choosing a historical period of 25 instead of 50 years results in higher predicted gains in e80 for men but lower gains for women. Choosing non-smoking-related mortality instead of all-cause mortality leads to higher gains for women and mixed results for men. In all alternatives there is a strong divergence of predicted mortality levels between the countries. Future projections should be preceded by a thorough study of past trends and their determinants.