Research Group

Mathematical and Actuarial Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team

Detailed Description

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Mortality is declining and life expectancy is rising in most countries, leading to population aging. The research group Mathematical and Actuarial Demography aims to find out the factors behind mortality change.

There are certain laws in demography, one of them being that every person gets one year older every year. It is precisely these natural constants that allow us to draw up models that cannot be constructed in other fields of the social sciences. We find this connection between sociological questions and mathematical approaches particularly exciting.

We are especially interested in mortality. Everyone wants to live in good health for as long as possible. Research in our group contributes to making this possible. From a statistical-methodological perspective, the natural constant that everyone dies only once makes things considerably easier.

Our group focuses on several research questions, three of which are as follows:  

  1. What methods and models can be used to estimate life expectancy at the county level in Germany? Small population numbers are methodically challenging, as only 30,000 people live in some German counties, for example. We investigate how to obtain precise and accurate estimates despite such small sample sizes.
  2. Is the mortality rate in the highest age groups decelerating? We investigate this question together with colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Our research is based on register data, one of the most reliable data sources for mortality estimations.
  3. In what way can demographic research benefit from methods of artificial intelligence? The use of machine learning methods is not yet widespread in demography. Based on data from the National Health Interview Survey, our group examines whether the newly developed methods allow for better predictions to be made of the remaining lifetime than do classic approaches.
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.