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Odds of living a very long life lower than formerly predicted
Date:2/6/2012

very old are done in the future.

The key finding is straightforwardthe rate of mortality growth with age of the oldest Americans is the same as that for those who are younger. The research reveals that mortality deceleration, the long-held belief that the mortality rate flattens out above age 80, does not take place.

Anne Zissu, chair of the Department of Business NYC College of Technology/CUNY, said the research provides "an essential tool" for developing models on seniors' financial assets.

Zissu said the research "will alter our financial approach to this valuation of mortality/longevity risk. Demographers and financiers need to work on this issue together, and their models must adapt to each other."

The mortality rate for people between the ages of 30 and 80 follows what is called the Gompertz Law, named for its founder, Benjamin Gompertz, who observed in 1825 that a person's risk of death in a given year doubles every eight years of age. It is a phenomenon that holds up across nations and over time and is an important part of the foundation of actuarial science.

For approximately 70 years, demographers have believed that above age 80 the Gompertz Law did not hold and that mortality rates flattened out. The work done by the Gavrilovs, a husband-and-wife team, reveals that the Gompertz Law holds at least through age 106, and probably higher, but the researchers say mortality data for those older than 106 is unreliable.

The Gavrilovs say the extinct birth cohort of people born between 1875 and 1895, which they built using the Social Security Administration Death Master File, reveals beyond question that the mortality rate of people in that cohort aligns with the Gompertz Law.

"It amazes me that the Gompertz model fits so well nearly 200 years after he proposed it. I like the approach of using extinct cohorts methods on SSA DMF (Social Security Administration Death Master File) data by month and the
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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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