MPIDR Working Paper

A cause-of-death decomposition of the young adult mortality hump

Remund, A., Camarda, C. G., Riffe, T.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2017-007, 21 pages (March 2017).
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research


We propose a method to decompose the young adult mortality hump by cause of death. This method is based on a flexible shape-decomposition of mortality rates that separates cause-of-death contributions to the hump from senescent mortality. We apply the method to US males and females from 1959 to 2010. Results show divergences between time trends of hump and observed deaths, both for all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The study of the hump shape reveals age, period and cohort effcts, suggesting that it is formed by a complex combination of different forces of biological and socioeconomic nature. Male and female humps share some traits in all-cause shape and trend, but also differ by their overall magnitude and cause-specific contributions. Notably, among males the contributions of traffic and other accidents were progressively replaced by those of suicides, homicides and poisonings, whereas among females traffic accidents remained the major contributor to the hump.