Age Reporting in the CLHLS: A Re-assessment

  • Heather Booth
  • Zhongwei Zhao
Part of the Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE, volume 20)


Age reporting among respondents in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey is examined, using the first round of data collected in 1998. The sample design limits the use of traditional methods for assessing the accuracy of age reporting, and innovative methods are adopted. Only the sample aged 100+ is representative of the population at that age. The age structure of centenarians is compared with populations with good age reporting, demonstrating age exaggeration. At ages 80+, constructed estimates of age at childbearing show systematic effects consistent with age exaggeration, particularly in Guangxi and among ethnic minorities. Increasing age exaggeration with age is present in these data, which is at least partly the result of the age structure. These findings have implications for substantive analyses, and further examination of the quality of these data is needed.


Age exaggeration Age heaping Age misreporting Age reporting Age validation Centenarian China Cluster sample Data quality Digit preference England and Wales Ethnic minorities Guangxi Han majority Inaccuracy Japan Jiangsu Large sample size Longevity Mean age at childbearing Myers Index Non-response Oldest-old One Per Thousand Fertility Survey Proportion of centenarians Re-assessment Regional variation Sample design Shanghai Sweden Whipple’s Index Yao Zhuang 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alter, G., M. Dribe, and F. van Poppe (2004), Childbearing history and post-reproductive mortality: A comparative analysis of three populations in nineteenth century Europe. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago (USA), 18–21 November 2004.Google Scholar
  2. Coale, A. and E.E Kisker (1986), Mortality crossovers: Reality or bad data? Population Studies 40 (3), pp. 389–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coale, A. and S. Li (1991), The effect of age misreporting in China on the calculation of mortality rates at very high ages. Demography 28 (2), pp. 293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Doblhammer, G. (2000), Reproductive history and mortality later in life: A comparative study of England and Wales and Austria. Population Studies 54 (2), pp. 169–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dribe, M. (2004), Long-term effects of childbearing on mortality: Evidence from pre-industrial Sweden. Population Studies 58 (3), pp. 297–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gu, D. and Y. Zeng, (2004), Data quality assessment of the CLHLS 1998, 2000, and 2002 waves. In: Y. Zeng, Y. Liu, C. Zhang, and Z. Xiao (eds.) Analyses of the determinants of healthy longevity. Beijing: Peking University Press, pp. 3–22 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  7. Jeune, B. (1995), In search of the first centenarians. In: B. Jeune and J. Vaupel (eds.), Exceptional longevity: From prehistory to the present, Odense: Odense University Press, pp. 11–24Google Scholar
  8. Kannisto, V (1994), Development of oldest-old mortality, 1950–1990: Evidence from 28 developed countries. Odense: Odense University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Müller, H.-G., J.-M. Chiou, J.R. Carey, and J.-L. Wang (2002), Fertility and life span: Late children enhance female longevity. The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 57 (5), pp. B202–B206Google Scholar
  10. Perls, T.T., L. Alpert, and R.C. Fretts (1997), Middle-aged mothers live longer. Nature 389, pp. 133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Research Group of Healthy Longevity in China (RGHLC) (2000), Data collections of the healthy longevity survey in China 1998. Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Rosenwaike, I. and L.F. Stone (2003), Verification of the ages of supercentenarians in the United States: Results of a matching study. Demography 40 (4), pp. 727–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Smith, K.R., G.P. Mineau, L.L. Bean (2002), Fertility and post-reproductive longevity. Social Biology 49 (3–4), pp. 185–205Google Scholar
  14. Wang, Z., Y. Zeng, B. Jeune, and J.W. Vaupel (1998), Age validation of Han Chinese centenarians. Genus LIV (1–2), pp. 123–141Google Scholar
  15. Xu, Q. (2001), Evaluation of age-reporting among the elderly. Marketing and Population Analysis 3, pp. 1–12 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  16. Zeng, Y. and J.W. Vaupel (2004), Association of late childbearing with healthy longevity among the oldest-old in China. Population Studies 58 (1), pp. 37–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Zeng, Y., J.W. Vaupel, Z. Xiao, C, Zhang, and Y. Liu (2001), The healthy longevity survey and the active life expectancy of the oldest old in China. Population: An English Selection 13 (1), pp. 95–116Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Booth
    • 1
  • Zhongwei Zhao
  1. 1.Australian Demographic and Social Research InstituteThe Australian National University CanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations