Is Mortality Spatial or Social?

26 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2012 Last revised: 21 Oct 2014

See all articles by Colin O'Hare

Colin O'Hare

Monash University - Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics

Youwei Li

Hull University Business School

Date Written: July 21, 2014


Mortality modelling for the purposes of demographic forecasting and actuarial pricing is generally done at an aggregate level using national data. Modelling at this level fails to capture the variation in mortality within country and potentially leads to a mis-specification of mortality forecasts for a subset of the population. This can have detrimental effects for pricing and reserving in the actuarial context. In this paper we consider mortality rates at a regional level and analyse the variation in those rates. We consider whether variation in mortality rates within a country can be explained using local economic and social variables. Using Northern Ireland data on mortality and measures of deprivation we identify the variables explaining mortality variation. We create a population polarisation variable and find that this variable is significant in explaining some of the variation in mortality rates. Further, we consider whether spatial and non-spatial models have a part to play in explaining mortality differentials.

Keywords: Mortality rates, Frailty models, Deprivation measures

Suggested Citation

O'Hare, Colin and Li, Youwei, Is Mortality Spatial or Social? (July 21, 2014). Economic Modelling, Vol. 42, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

Colin O'Hare (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3168

Youwei Li

Hull University Business School ( email )

University of Hull
Hull, HU6 7RX
United Kingdom

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