National Records of Scotland

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Annex B Mortality Assumptions

Annex B Mortality Assumptions

The mortality rates for the first year of the projection, mid-2004 to mid-2005, are based on the best estimates that could be made in the autumn of 2005 of the numbers of deaths at each age in 2004-05.

Assumed improvements in mortality rates after 2004-05 are based on trends in mortality rates before 2004. Improvements in mortality rates by age and gender in the base year of the projection are estimated from the trends in years from 1961 to 2003. It is assumed that these annual rates of reduction in mortality rates for the base year will tend towards a common reduction at each age of 1 per cent a year by 2029. Thereafter the mortality improvement is assumed to continue at this rate, in contrast to the previous projections where it was assumed to half every subsequent twenty-five years.

The rates of mortality improvement which are assumed for the UK for the base year of the projections (2003-04) are shown in Figure B1.

A comparison of period expectations of life (eols) for Scotland with the UK as a whole (Figure B2) suggests there has been a gradual widening in the difference in expectations of life for males under the age of 80, since the mid-1970s. There are no obvious patterns of divergence (or convergence) in the comparison of Scottish and UK life expectancies for females.

Given this finding for males, further analysis indicated lower rates of improvement should be adopted in Scotland for males in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, and also in their late 50s and early 60s, than for the UK as a whole. The extent of these differences are shown in Figure B3.

The impact of these new assumptions can be summarised using the period expectation of life at birth, based on the mortality rates for the given year. This life expectancy is assumed to rise from 74.3 years in 2004 to 79.1 years in 2031 for males, and from 79.4 years in 2004 to 83.6 years in 2031 for females (For the UK as a whole, the equivalent figures are a rise from 76.7 years in 2004 to 81.4 years in 2031 for males, and from 81.1 years in 2004 to 85.0 years in 2031 for females). Compared to the assumptions used in the 2002-based projections for Scotland, these lead to an increase in the expectations of life at birth for males of around 0.3 years in 27 years, and for females of 0.1 years.

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