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Trends in Human Species-Specific Lifespan and Actuarial Aging Rate

Leonid A. Gavrilov1,2,a* and Natalia S. Gavrilova1,2

1Academic Research Centers, NORC at the University of Chicago, 60637 Chicago, IL, USA

2Institute for Demographic Research, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 109028 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received November 2, 2022; Revised November 16, 2022; Accepted November 16, 2022
The compensation effect of mortality (CEM) was tested and species-specific lifespan was estimated using data on one-year age-specific death rates from the Human Mortality Database (HMD). CEM was confirmed using this source of the data and human species-specific lifespan estimates were obtained, which were similar to the estimates published before. Three models (Gompertz–Makeham, Gompertz–Makeham with mean-centered age, and Gompertz) produced similar estimates of the species-specific lifespan. These estimates demonstrated some increase over time. Attempts to measure aging rates through the Gompertz slope parameter led to the conclusion that actuarial aging rates were stable during most of the 20th century, but recently demonstrated an increase over time in the majority (74%) of studied populations. This recent phenomenon is most likely caused by more rapid historical decline of mortality at the younger adult age groups compared to the older age groups, thus making the age gradient in mortality steeper over time. There is no biomedical reason to believe that human aging rates accelerated recently, so that the actuarial aging rate is probably not a good measure of true aging rate (rate of functional loss). Therefore, better measures of aging rate need to be developed.
KEY WORDS: aging, mortality, Gompertz–Makeham model, species-specific lifespan, aging rate

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922120173