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The myth of Methusalah and the uncertainty of death : the mortality fan charts.

Dowd, K. and Blake, D. and Cairns, A.J.G. (2016) 'The myth of Methusalah and the uncertainty of death : the mortality fan charts.', Risks., 4 (3). p. 21.


This paper uses mortality fan charts to illustrate prospective future male mortality. These fan charts show both the most likely path of male mortality and the bands of uncertainty surrounding that path. The fan charts are based on a model of male mortality that is known to provide a good fit to UK mortality data. The fan charts suggest that there are clear limits to longevity—that future mortality rates are very uncertain and tend to become more uncertain the further ahead the forecast—and that forecasts of future mortality uncertainty must also take account of uncertainty in the parameters of the underlying mortality model.

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Publisher statement:© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (
Date accepted:22 June 2016
Date deposited:25 April 2018
Date of first online publication:04 July 2016
Date first made open access:25 April 2018

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