, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 439–454

The impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty on the dynamics of mortality


  • James W. Vaupel
    • Institute of Policy Sciences and Public AffairsDuke University
  • Kenneth G. Manton
    • Center for Demographic StudiesDuke University
  • Eric Stallard
    • Center for Demographic StudiesDuke University

DOI: 10.2307/2061224

Cite this article as:
Vaupel, J.W., Manton, K.G. & Stallard, E. Demography (1979) 16: 439. doi:10.2307/2061224


Life table methods are developed for populations whose members differ in their endowment for longevity. Unlike standard methods, which ignore such heterogeneity, these methods use different calculations to construct cohort, period, and individual life tables. The results imply that standard methods overestimate current life expectancy and potential gains in life expectancy from health and safety interventions, while underestimating rates of individual aging, past progress in reducing mortality, and mortality differentials between pairs of populations. Calculations based on Swedish mortality data suggest that these errors may be important, especially in old age.

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© Population Association of America 1979