MPIDR Working Paper

Month of birth influences survival up to age 105+: first results from the age validation study of German semi-supercentenarians

Doblhammer, G., Scholz, R. D., Maier, H.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2005-004, 14 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (March 2005)
Open Access


Using data from Germany, we examine if month of birth influences survival up to age 105. Since age reporting at the highest ages is notoriously unreliable we draw on age-validated information from a huge age validation project of 1487 alleged German semi-supercentenarians aged 105+. We use month of birth as an exogenous indicator for seasonal changes in the environment around the time of birth. We find that the seasonal distribution of birth dates changes with age. For 925 age-validated semi-supercentenarians the seasonality is more pronounced than at the time of their births (1880-1900). Among the December-born the relative risk of survival from birth to age 105+ is 16 per cent higher than the average, among the June-born, 23 per cent lower. The month-of-birth pattern in the survival risks of the German semi-supercentenarians resembles closely the month-of-birth pattern in remaining life expectancy at age 50 in Denmark.
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.