Volume 30 - Article 57 | Pages 1571–1590  

The pace of aging: Intrinsic time scales in demography

By Tomasz Wrycza, Annette Baudisch


Background: The pace of aging is a concept that captures the time-related aspect of aging. It formalizes the idea of a characteristic life span or intrinsic population time scale. In the rapidly developing field of comparative biodemography, measures that account for inter-species differences in life span are needed to compare how species age.

Objective: We aim to provide a mathematical foundation for the concept of pace. We derive desired mathematical properties of pace measures and suggest candidates which satisfy these properties. Subsequently, we introduce the concept of pace-standardization, which reveals differences in demographic quantities that are not due to pace. Examples and consequences are discussed.

Conclusions: Mean life span (i.e., life expectancy from birth or from maturity) is intuitively appealing, theoretically justified, and the most appropriate measure of pace. Pace-standardization provides a serviceable method for comparative aging studies to explore differences in demographic patterns of aging across species, and it may considerably alter conclusions about the strength of aging.

Author's Affiliation

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