Changes in the Age-at-Death Distribution by Leading Causes of Death in Canada: An Innovative Analysis through a Nonparametric Method

Viorela Diaconu, Université de Montréal
Robert R. Bourbeau, Université de Montréal
Nadine Ouellette, University of California, Berkeley
Carlo G. Camarda, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This study focuses on the contribution of leading causes of death to the general phenomenon of mortality compression in Canada, a topic that has received very limited attention thus far. We analyse the evolution through time of the adult modal age at death (M) and the standard deviation above the mode (SD(M+)) for each leading cause of death in Canada (1974-2008), thanks to detailed data by cause, sex, single year of age and calendar year obtained through a special governmental initiative. Changes in the adult age-at-death distribution, such as described by M and SD(M+), are evaluated using a novel nonparametric smoothing approach known as the P-splines method, that we specifically adapt to the context of cause of death analysis. Preliminary results show that between 1974 and 2008, M has increased while SD(M+) has decreased for cancer and heart diseases, Canada’s top two leading causes of death.

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Presented in Session 126: Advances in Cause of Death Analyses