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International Futures Help System

Cause-specific Mortality: Infants and the Elderly

The detailed deaths data file (by cause, sex, and age) that we have obtained through the generosity of Colin Mathers at the World Health Organization does not include cause-specific infant or old-age (85+) mortality (greater than 85).  Because IFs forecasts both infant mortality and 5-year age categories to 100 years, we incorporate detailed mortality data from Sweden (as a proxy, thanks mainly to availability of data)  in order to initialize Group II (excluding mental health) cause-specific mortality  for these missing populations. [1]  

The first step is to find the weights per age category for Sweden as follows:

Mortality equation 1

Where j is the smaller IFs age category a (for example infants), JJ is the bigger corresponding GBD age category (for example children < 5, which implies the addition of infants plus children 1-4), p is gender, and d is mortality type.

The second step is to check the monotonicity of growth in the existing mortality data for each country and type of mortality (from age 45 forward).  If monotonicity is not found  (i.e., mortality rates do not rise in step with increasing age groups) then the initialization data is left unchanged for this country and mortality type combination.  If initial mortality does increase monotonically, we further adjust mortality:

Mortality equation 2

Where j, JJ, p and d are the same as in the previous equation and Pop is the population vector.

This option has been currently disabled because it was producing too much NCDs compared to CDs for countries like Mali for people over 90 years of age. [2]


[1] This may be an issue also for Groups 1 and 3, but we have used the procedure with Sweden only for Group 2.

[2] Beginning with discovery of a problem for Mali, the use of this distribution procedure in IFs ran into some logic problems with poor behavior.  As of September, 2013, the spread of initialization data for infants 1-4 and for ages 85+ is disabled.  That spread, although desirable, is not necessary and at this point the code generates more problems than it solves.  This section of the documentation is maintained should we want to revisit the issue.