, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 31-38

Heterogeneity and selection in multistate population analysis

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Abstract

If one subgroup of individuals in a population has a higher death rate than the others, then over time the surviving population will include a larger share of those with the lower death rate, As a result, the aggregate average death rate for this increasingly more robust population will decline. This conclusion, however, can be drawn only for nonrecurrent events experienced by populations that do not exchange members with one another—that is, for noninteracting populations. Studies of changes in marital status, labor force activity, residential location, and active life, for example, all should focus on patterns of recurrent events among interacting populations (that is, multistate populations). Selection arising from heterogeneity will occur, but the consequences for average measures become unpredictable a priori. This paper explores such aspects of the selection effects of heterogeneity in multistate populations and illuminates some of their consequences for commonly used rates.

The author is grateful to Carrie Andree and Debbie Ash for typing the manuscript. 1992 Population Association of America