Griffith Feeney's Demography Website

Presentation at Statistics South Africa - 6 July 2012

The New HMD-LQ Model Life Tables and Their Application to Household Deaths Data

Presentation Slides (PPT 1145KB)

Presentation Slides (PDF 6/page 403KB)

Human Mortality Database (

John Wilmoth Eprints (

HMD-LQ Data, R functions, and other material (

R-Project for Statistical Computing (

Spreadsheet for fitting HMD-LQ (XLS 132 KB)

Spreadsheet documentation (PDF 129KB)


The Human Mortality Database Log-Quadratic (HMD-LQ) model life tables were introduced by Wilmoth, Zureick, Canudas-Romo, Inoue and Sawyer in Population Studies (Vol. 66, Issue 12, December 2011). The authors assert that the new model “easily outperforms the Coale-Demeny and UN model life tables” and suggest that its use will improve the quality and transparency of indirect mortality estimates.

The public availability of the life tables from which the new model is derived, the quality of their documentation, and the availability of the computer code used to generate the model are powerful arguments for transparency. Performance may be measured in different ways, however, and this together with the volume of the empirical source materials make it likely that demographers will be assessing the new model for some time to come.

In the meantime, demographers concerned with indirect estimation of mortality will want to familiarize themselves with the new model and experiment with its application, for it may indeed in time displace the Coale-Demeny and UN models that have been in use now for nearly three decades.

This talk will describe the new model briefly, demonstrate an Excel spreadsheet implementation that will be more accessible to many than the R statistical language used to develop the model, and illustrate the application of the model to the analysis of population census data on household deaths.

About the presenter

Griffith Feeney is a demographer and statistician. His first published paper appeared in Demography in 1970 when he was a graduate student in the Department of Demography at the University of California at Berkeley. On completing graduate work, he went to the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he spent the next 26 years alternating between research, practical work in national statistical offices throughout Asia, and teaching graduate students and mid-career professionals. He has a distinguished record of contributions to demographic analysis in peer-reviewed journals. Since 1998 he has been an independent consultant in demography and statistics working mainly in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Photo of Griffith Feeney

Griffith Feeney Ph.D.
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