Digital and Computational Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team


New Perspectives in Mortality Forecasting

Ugofilippo Basellini; in Collaboration with Carlo Giovanni Camarda (French National Institute for Demographic Studies, Paris, France)

Detailed Description

Mortality modeling and forecasting occupy a central role in demographic and actuarial analyses. Renewed and increasing attention to this area of research has been stimulated recently by two pressing challenges faced by modern societies: population aging and longevity risk. Virtually every country of the world is experiencing population aging as a result of continuous declines in mortality and fertility. Furthermore, unanticipated improvements in longevity have generated an enormous global longevity risk market.

The last few decades have witnessed significant advances in mortality forecasting, including a shift from deterministic to stochastic approaches. However, widely used methods have repeatedly failed to anticipate the sustained rate of mortality improvements observed in many low-mortality countries. As such, the need for innovative models that predict the future course of mortality more accurately than do previous approaches is evident and timely.

This project aims to introduce innovative statistical methods that can provide novel insights into the analysis and forecasting of human mortality. Specifically, the key measure employed is the age-at-death distribution, a very useful measure of age-specific mortality. Despite being well suited for the analysis of mortality developments over age and time, only a few efforts have been made to leverage age-at-death distributions to model and forecast mortality. As such, this project proposes the use of age-at-death distributions coupled with novel statistical methods to obtain a broader perspective of mortality developments and more accurate mortality forecasts. Another relevant new perspective that we will develop concerns the decomposition of the mortality age-pattern in projections. In order to test the goodness-of-fit and forecast accuracy of our proposed methodologies, we will start to focus on mortality changes in high-longevity populations, which are characterized by higher data quality. Once the methodologies are fully tested and validated, we will expand the analyses to countries with lower data quality and atypical mortality developments.

Research Keywords:

Ageing, Mortality and Longevity, Projections and Forecasting

Region keywords:

Europe, Japan, USA


Basellini, U.; Camarda, C. G.:
In: Developments in demographic forecasting, 105–129. Cham: Springer International Publishing. (2020)    
Basellini, U.; Kjærgaard, S.; Camarda, C. G.:
Insurance: Mathematics and Economics 91, 129–143. (2020)
Bergeron Boucher, M.-P.; Kjærgaard, S.; Pascariu, M. D.; Aburto, J. M.; Alvarez Martinez, J. A.; Basellini, U.; Rizzi, S.; Vaupel, J. W.:
In: Developments in demographic forecasting, 131–151. Cham: Springer International Publishing. (2020)    
Pascariu, M. D.; Basellini, U.; Aburto, J. M.; Canudas-Romo, V.:
Risks 8:4, 109.1–109.18. (2020)    
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.