Demographic Data

At a Glance Projects Publications Team

Research Area

Mortality and Survival

The development of world-leading demographic data resources is a core activity of the Data Laboratory. Currently, the Laboratory is responsible for three scientific databases on mortality and longevity: the Human Mortality Database (HMD), the Human Life-Table Database, and the Human Cause of Death Database (HCD). The first two databases are collaborative projects with the Department of Demography at the University of California at Berkeley (USA) and the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED, France). The HCD is a joint project with INED.

Researchers of the Data Laboratory actively contributed to COVID-19 research. Reliable and internationally comparable data are crucial in order to determine the effectiveness of different strategies that are used to address pandemic challenges. To achieve this ambitious goal, a new international data resource was established within the HMD project: the Short-Term Mortality Fluctuations data series. It provides weekly death counts and death rates by age and sex for 38 countries. We also work on the development of new methods for the analysis of excess mortality and their practical implementation. This work is performed within the framework of another project based on the HMD experience and devoted to the reconstruction of mortality trends and human losses during crises such as epidemics, wars, and other disasters.

Mortality and health in industrialized countries is another focus of the Laboratory’s research, with the main emphasis being determinants of diverging mortality trends at national and subnational levels. We are also involved in several international projects on mortality and health, with a special focus on Germany and Eastern Europe. In order to study changes and differences in population health within and between countries, Laboratory researchers have been developing methods for the decomposition of aggregated indicators and the measurement of health inequalities.

Low- and middle-income countries constitute the majority of the global population. There is thus a growing need for reliable data-driven mortality estimates. In 2018, the Laboratory launched a project aiming at extrapolating highly accurate and methodologically advanced HMD approaches to countries that have problematic population statistics. The methodological work aims at the maximal exploitation of available raw data in combination with a standardized set of HMD methods and advanced statistical modeling. Two priority countries in this project are India and China.

In 2022, we finalized a biodemographic study on diseases and deaths in Moscow. Originally based on a project funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the study explored biological mechanisms linking cumulated stress with disease and death. The analysis was based on a unique survey conducted in Moscow from 2006 to 2009 by an international team led by MPIDR-researchers. The original data set has depersonalized data, includes a 10-year mortality follow-up, and is available to all researchers upon request.

Research Keywords:

Aging, Mortality and Longevity, Data and Surveys, Health Care, Public Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology, Statistics and Mathematics

Region keywords:


Projects of this Research Area

Human Mortality Database Project details
Human Life-Table Database Project details
Mortality Disparities at Subnational Level Project details
Monitoring Mortality in Developing Countries Project details
Mortality and Health in Germany Project details
Monitoring Mortality Inequalities Consortium Project details
Effects of Short-Term Events on Subnational Mortality Trends in Europe (Dissertation) Project details
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.