Mortality Patterns in Late Life

  • Robert A. Hummer
  • Richard G. Rogers
  • Ryan K. Masters
  • Jarron M. Saint Onge
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 1)

The thorough description and more complete understanding of older adult mortality patterns have become central and exciting areas in both demography and aging research in recent decades. Increasing numbers of people around the world, particularly in the most economically developed countries, are experiencing overall healthier and longer lives. Indeed, given its impact in nearly all countries, the general increase in life expectancy was arguably one of the most important trends of the 20th century. Increases in life expectancy – initially predominantly caused by decreasing infant and childhood mortality but now largely based on decreasing older adult mortality in high income countries – have also helped to produce greater numbers of people living into older adulthood. The growing size of the older adult population is a relatively new phenomenon in human history and has, in turn, created tremendous interest in the growth, health and mortality prospects of this rapidly growing segment of the population. More recently, elderly populations have experienced lower mortality and substantial gains in life expectancy. For example, in 2004, U.S. life expectancy at age 65 reached 20.0 years for women and 17.1 years for men (Miniño et al. 2007). These figures have improved considerably from the 65-year-old life expectancy figures of 15.0 years for women and 12.7 years for men in 1950 (Arias 2006).


Life Table Adult Mortality Late Life Mortality Pattern Educational Difference 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Hummer
    • 1
  • Richard G. Rogers
    • 2
  • Ryan K. Masters
    • 3
  • Jarron M. Saint Onge
    • 4
  1. 1.Research Associate, Population Research CenterUniversity of Texas at AustinAustin
  2. 2.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.University of TexasAustinUSA
  4. 4.University of HoustonHoustonUSA

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