Fifteen-year (h)itch

(Oct 30, 2009)

Effective risk modelling is about grouping people with shared characteristics which affect this risk.  In mortality analysis by far the most important risk factor is age, so it is not a good idea to mix the young and old if it can be avoided.  By way of illustration, Figure 1 shows that mortality rates increase exponentially over much of the post-retirement age range. 

Figure 1. Mortality rates for males and females according to table S1PA from the CMI. The exponential rise in mortality rates means it is important not to mix ages which are too far apart.

Despite the steep rise in risk by age, it was relatively common until the late 1990s to use five-year age ranges for mortality models.  This was a deliberate trade-off…

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Tags: homogeneity, heterogeneity, survival models

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