Journal Article

Method for reconstructing mortality by educational groups

Population Health Metrics, 19:34, 1–8 (2021)
Open Access


Background:The lack of classifcation by educational attainment in death and population exposure data at older ages is an important constraint for studying changes and patterns of mortality disparities by education in Denmark and Sweden. The missing educational distribution of population also restricts analyses aiming at estimating contributions of compositional change to the improvements in national longevity. This study proposes a transparent approach to solve the two methodological issues allowing to obtain robust education-specifc mortality estimates and population weights.
Methods: Using nonparametric approach, we redistribute the unknown cases and extrapolate the mortality curves of these sub-populations with the help of population-level data on an aggregate level from the Human Mortality Database.
Results: We present reconstructed and harmonized education-specifc abridged and complete life tables for Sweden and Denmark covering 5-year-long periods from 1991–1995 to 2011–2015. The newly estimated life tables are in good agreement with the national life tables and show plausible age- and education-specifc patterns. The observed changes in life expectancy by education suggest about the widening longevity gap between the highest and lowest educated for males and females in both countries.
Conclusions: The proposed simple and transparent method can be applied in similar country-specifc cases showing large proportions of missing education or other socio-economic characteristics at older ages.

Keywords: Denmark, Sweden, education, life expectancy, old age
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.