Estimating adult mortality in Zambia using information on survival of parents from surveys

  • Vesper H. Chisumpa World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration Human Resources Development Centre
  • Rob Dorrington Centre for Actuarial Research, University of Cape Town
Keywords: Adult mortality, estimation, orphanhood, Zambia


The aim of this study is to derive estimates of level of and trend in adult mortality in Zambia. To do this the study applies the standard orphanhood method to the data on survivorship of parents from various Zambia Demographic and Health and Living Conditions Monitoring Surveys to estimate 10q25 and 15q25 for females; and 10q35 for males, and hence, the probability of a 15 year old dying before age 60 (45q15). The study finds that the orphanhood method captures some of the trend but fails to provide definitive estimates of mortality. The levels of female adult mortality between ages 25 and 35 years have remained constant at about 15 per cent from the mid-1990s. The female mortality rate between ages 25 and 40 years has also remained constant, at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent since 2000. Adult male mortality between ages 35 and 45 years increased in the mid-1990s and has remained between 20 per cent and 25 per cent from the late 1990s to late 2000s. Adult mortality, 45q15, for both males and females, has increased over time and has stabilised at about 60 per cent for males and 50 per cent for females. These adult mortality rates are comparable to estimates from other sources.