Mortality in China Today

Judith Banister, Javelin Investments

This paper evaluates the completeness of death reporting above the youngest ages in three censuses of the PRC from 1982 to 2000, and revisits the completeness of death recording in the 1973-75 Cancer Epidemiology Survey. The paper discusses the theoretical basis of the General Growth Balance Method and explains why this technique is particularly suitable for analyzing the completeness of China's census mortality data and census counts. Information on child mortality from a variety of sources is reviewed, and best estimates arrived at. Adjusted life tables are calculated for the intercensal periods 1964-82, 1982-90 and 1990-2000, and for 1999-2000. The authors analyze adjusted levels of and trends in life expectancy and mortality by sex in childhood, adulthood, and old age, highlighting unexpected findings. The paper discusses why survival rates continue improving in China, despite meager and deteriorating health insurance coverage, increasing privatization, and reduced government support of health services.

Presented in Session 26: Measurement of Health and Mortality in Developing Countries