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Modelling Socio-Economic Differences in the Mortality of Danish Males Using a New Affluence Index

8th December 2016 3pm, University of Southampton, Room 1085, Building 2

Andrew Cairns, Herriott Watt University

We investigate and model how the mortality of Danish males aged 55-94 has changed over the period 1985-2012. We divide the population into ten socio-economic subgroups using a new measure of affluence that combines wealth and income reported on the Statistics Denmark national register database. The affluence index, in combination with sub-group lockdown at age 67, is shown to provide consistent sub-group rankings based on crude death rates across all ages and over all years. This improves significantly on previous studies that have focused on the impact of education or income on life expectancy or age-standardised mortality rates. The gap between the most and least affluent is confirmed to be widest at younger ages and has widened over time. We introduce a new multi-population mortality model that fits the historical mortality data very well and captures the essential character of the raw data. The model generates smoothed death rates that allow us to work with a larger number of smaller sub-groups than might be considered realistic when working with raw data. The model produces plausible projections of death rates that preserve the subgroup rankings at all ages. It also satisfies reasonableness criteria related to the term structure of correlations across ages and over time through consideration of future death and survival rates.