Coherent Forecasting of Multiple-Decrement Life Tables: A Test Using Japanese Cause of Death Data
James E Oeppen, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
It is attractive to forecast components of mortality, such as causes of death, so that the aggregate is a plausible all-cause forecast, but this has been difficult to achieve. The relative values of the components often fail to behave in a coherent way, leading to an implausible aggregate. This paper abandons the absolute distances of mortality rates and forecasts the relative numbers of deaths in the d(x) columns. Since the d(x) values obey a unit sum constraint for both single and multiple-decrement tables they are intrinsically relative rather than absolute values across decrements as well as ages. Death densities are transformed into the real space so that the full range of multivariate statistics can be applied, then back-transformed to positive values so that the unit sum constraint is honoured. Illustrations of singular value decomposition and regression-based forecasts of d(x) are evaluated for single and multiple decrement life tables.