Playing with scales

(Apr 23, 2009)

Mortality rates increase exponentially with age.  This can make comparisons difficult, as shown in Figure 1 below, which shows the period mortality rates for males in England and Wales at ten-year intervals.  It is clear that mortality has fallen at older ages, but it is much less clear what is happening at younger ages.

Figure 1. Crude mortality hazard rates for males in England and Wales

Crude hazard rates for males in England and Wales

The vertical scale of any figure is determined by the extremes, which in mortality work means the rates at the youngest and oldest ages. The problem with Figure 1 is that the rates at age 90 are up to 300 times the rates at age 40, which means that even large relative changes at younger ages are invisible.  The usual solution to this…

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Tags: mortality, scale

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