The Life Table pp 117-140 | Cite as

Age, period and cohort components in analysing past and projecting future mortality trends

  • Graziella Caselli
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 11)


Recent mortality studies analyse period tables much differently than was previously the practice. Going back to the last century, a period which witnessed major, rapid progress in survival, thanks to period data mortality, trends could be described so as to interpret these in relation to socio-economic and medical-health developments. When mortality was still very high and gains in life expectancy were mainly attributable to the fall in mortality among infants and youth, by analysing period data, the extent to which a country made progress in health and hygiene could be assessed and this then compared with developments in other countries. Currently, in developed countries, where mortality at different ages is the lowest ever, it is no easy task to analyse recent trends and differences merely on the basis of a cross-sectional analysis. Even from a prospective outlook, future horizons would be somewhat curtailed if analysis were to be limited to a purely transversal vision of mortality data. This is because the period of major achievement has most likely ended. Further gains, besides being contained, increasingly depend on the life histories of cohorts, and particularly on their ability and willingness to adopt healthier life-styles which are more conducive to longer life-expectancy.


Cohort Effect Adult Mortality Lung Cancer Mortality Mortality Trend Male Mortality 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Graziella Caselli

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