Using Child, Adult, and Old-Age Mortality to Establish a Developing Countries Mortality Database (DCMD)

  • Nan Li
  • Hong Mi
  • Patrick Gerland
Part of the The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE, volume 46)


Mortality databases have been established for developed countries and effectively used for various purposes. For developing countries of which the deaths counted 78% that of the world in 2010–2015, however, reliable life tables can hardly be found. Indirect estimates of life tables using empirical data on child and adult mortality are available for developing countries. But more than half of all deaths already occurred at age 60 and higher in developing countries in 2010–2015, which leads to the irony that worldwide the number of deaths at old-ages is the biggest, and also the least reliable. This reality indicates that improving the estimates of old-age mortality for individual developing countries is not enough, and that establishing a mortality database for all developing countries, which utilizes the improved estimations of old-age mortality, is necessary. To fulfill this task, we introduce two methods: (1) the Census Method that uses populations enumerated from census to estimate old-age mortality, and (2) the three-input model life table that utilizes child, adult, and old-age mortality to calculate life tables. Compared to using only child and adult mortality, applying the two methods to the data from the Human Mortality Database after 1950, the errors of fitting old-age mortality are reduced for more than 70% of all the countries. For the three non-European-origin populations in the Human Mortality Database the errors are reduced by 17% for Chile, 48% for Japan, and 17% for Taiwan, which is more relevant for developing countries. These results indicate that the methodology is adequate and empirical data are available to establish a mortality database for developing countries.


Mortality Database Developing countries 



The work on this paper was supported by the Special Fund of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on The Belt and Road Initiative (2017-2018), and the Key Project of the Social Science of Zhejiang Province (NO. 17NDJC029Z).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nan Li
    • 1
  • Hong Mi
    • 2
  • Patrick Gerland
    • 1
  1. 1.Population Division, Department of Economic and Social AffairsUnited NationsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Public AffairsZhejiang UniversityZhejiangP. R. China

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