In recent years, improvements in all-cause mortality rates and life expectancies for males and females in England and Wales have slowed down.
In this paper, cause-specific mortality data for England and Wales from 2001 to 2018 are used to investigate the cause-specific contributions to the slowdown in improvements. Cause-specific death counts in England and Wales are modelled using negative binomial regression and a breakpoint in the linear temporal trend in log mortality rates is investigated. Cause-specific scenarios are generated, where the post-breakpoint temporal trends for certain causes are reverted to pre-breakpoint rates and the effect of these changes on age-standardised mortality rates and period life expectancies is explored. These scenarios are used to quantify cause-specific contributions to the mortality improvement slowdown. Reductions in improvements at older ages in circulatory system diseases, as well as the worsening of mortality rates due to mental and behavioural disorders and nervous system diseases, provide the greatest contributions to the reduction of improvements in age-standardised mortality rates and period life expectancies.
Future period life expectancies scenarios are also generated, where cause-specific mortality rate trends are assumed to either persist or be reverted. In the majority of scenarios, the reversion of cause-specific mortality trends in a single cause of death results in the worsening of period life expectancies at birth and age 65 for both males and females. This work enhances the understanding of cause-specific contributions to the slowdown in all-cause mortality rate improvements from 2001 to 2018, while also providing insights into causes of death that are drivers of life expectancy improvements. The findings can be of benefit to researchers, policy-makers and insurance professionals.
This article was published in the North American Actuarial Journal, Volume 27, Issue 3 (2023).
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Alexander M. T. L. Yiu of The Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt University
Torsten Kleinow of The Research Centre for Longevity, Risk Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam
George Streftaris The Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt University
Causes of death; Life expectancy; Mortality projections; Mortality rates; Mortality trends; Negative binomial regression