Maximum life expectancies: revisiting the best practice trends

Vladimir Canudas Romo, Michal Engelman


In this paper, we investigate maximum remaining life expectancy, a conditional measure of longevity that combines information about survival improvements and the ages at which they occur. Comparing across countries, we also examine the time trend in record remaining life expectancy and record total expected longevity. A substantial difference between life expectancy at birth and the maximum remaining life expectancy existed throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries both for national and record measures, though the same group of countries holds the various record measures. The rising trend in the maximum and record life expectancy measures during this period shows that in addition to the well-known declines in early-childhood mortality, survival improvements were simultaneously taking place at other ages. The convergence of life expectancy at birth with the maximum life expectancy in the 1960s suggests that mortality selection at younger ages has decreased substantially, allowing the full population to anticipate a longer life. By combining information about mortality reductions and the ages at which they occur, our results present a link between demographic and epidemiologic transitions and highlight the temporal connection between childhood and adult influences on the historical trajectory of rising life expectancy.


record; life expectancy by age; period; cohort; life tables

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54