Investigating the Difference in Mortality Estimates Between the Social Security Administration Trustees’ Report and the Human Mortality Database

Published: 2018
Project ID: UM18-01


The goal of this project is to evaluate the mortality estimation process implemented by the SSA as the basis for its projections and to compare it with that of the Human Mortality Database (HMD), one of the most widely used sources of mortality information in high-income countries.

The expectation of life at age 65 is nearly 0.4 years lower in the SSA life table than in the HMD, and the gap has been growing since the early 1980s, a sign of possible problems with either or both HMD and SSA estimates. By applying HMD methods to SSA data, and SSA methods to HMD data, this project aims to measure how much of the gap in mortality is attributable to differences in the data and how much to differences in methods of processing the data. Our goal is to help strengthen both the HMD and SSA mortality estimates.


Magali Barbieri