Each year, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (“CMI”) publishes a model for projecting future improvements in mortality. We blogged previously about the 2015 version of the CMI model which led to falling projected life expectancies in the UK after the lowest mortality improvements observed in the 40 years covered by the CMI.
The new, shiny version of the model, “CMI 2016”, was released yesterday and projected life expectancies are down again: CMI 2016 leads to lower projected life expectancies than all previous versions of the CMI model. Projected life expectancies at age 65 using CMI 2016 are 1.3% lower for males and 2% lower for females, compared with CMI 2015.
The raw mortality improvement for 2016 was in fact positive, at +1.8% across all ages. However, this was not sufficient to reverse the trend of falling life expectancies. Following a year as lethal as 2015, a significant positive improvement was expected in 2016 but +1.8% is still below the long term trend. The new model also allows for increased exposure to the 2015 data which is driving projected improvements downwards.
Looking forward - the seasonal data provided by the CMI shows that the standardised mortality ratio for the 2016/17 winter may prove to be close to that seen in the 2014/15 winter and it was this spike in deaths that had such a significant impact on CMI 2015. The future does not look bright.
In the aftermath of CMI 2015, the debate focussed on whether falling life expectancies were a blip or part of a longer term trend. That debate is surely over, now. Indeed, the CMI themselves have all but ruled out the “blip” theory in their summary of the new model. The question we need to answer now is what is driving this slowdown in improvements? And how long will it last?