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Do Cohort Mortality Trends Emigrate? Insights on The U.K.'s Golden Cohort From A Comparison with a British Settler Country

  • Alison O'Connell (a1) and Kim Dunstan


The assumed rate of future mortality improvement has increased over three recent sets of the United Kingdom's national population projections. This optimism has not been so marked in countries which share ancestors with the U.K. population. New Zealand is one such country that provides a data-rich case example in which to investigate the portability of mortality trends.

This paper compares mortality trends in New Zealand with those in England & Wales. Both countries seem to have a ‘golden cohort’ which enjoys faster improving mortality than people born before or after. The birth of the golden cohort in England & Wales coincided with cohort life expectancy there catching up with New Zealand's.

We show that first generation migrants from the U.K. have better mortality than New Zealand born residents likely to have British ancestry. The advantage lasts into older ages, decades after migration. We hypothesise that migrants from the U.K.'s golden cohort brought with them an early life mortality improvement advantage, and additionally benefited from the healthier environment of New Zealand at middle to older ages. Further, given the recent strong mortality improvement in New Zealand, the U.K.'s assumptions for future mortality look relatively optimistic.



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British Actuarial Journal
  • ISSN: 1357-3217
  • EISSN: 2044-0456
  • URL: /core/journals/british-actuarial-journal
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