May 18, 2004 | Press Release

Focus on Life Expectancy and its Determinants: First Symposium on the Human Mortality Database will be held on June 18-19th at the MPIDR Rostock

"Human Mortality over Age, Time, Sex, and Place" is in the focus of the Symposium on June 18-19, held at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock. It is the first international scientific meeting regarding research carried out with data from the Human Mortality Database (HMD).

The HMD is the world's most comprehensive online resource, freely providingdetailed information about mortality in developed countries by sex, age, and birth cohort. It is a collaborative project of the MPIDR with the Department of Demography of the University of California at Berkeley, USA, and the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the Queen´s University in Kingston, Canada. The database documents the revolutionary process of life-expectancy increase in the modern age and provides insight into its causes and consequences.

The Rostock Symposium is intended to promote research and encourage collaboration amongst scientists using data from the HMD, say co-organizers Prof. John Wilmoth of the University of California at Berkeley and Dr. Vladimir Shkolnikov of the MPIDR. To the Symposium, Rostock is welcoming many prominent researchers from all over the world. Among them are Prof. Graziella Caselli from Roma, Prof. Kenneth Hill from Baltimore, Prof. France Meslé and Prof. Jacques Vallin from Paris, Jim Oeppen from Cambridge, Prof. Jean-Marie Robine from Montpellier, and Prof. Ian Timaeus from London.

On the first day, the participants will be presenting papers regarding comparative mortality patterns and trends. The sections are titled:

  • Mortality Patterns across and within Countries,
  • Sex Differences in Mortality,
  • Effects of Universal Insurance Coverage on Mortality.

The second day will be dedicated to methodological discussions. Topics will cover the following areas:

  • Indirect Estimation Methods,
  • Methods for Estimating Old Age Mortality,
  • Accounting for War Mortality.




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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.