Volume 30 - Article 57 | Pages 1571–1590

The pace of aging: Intrinsic time scales in demography

By Tomasz Wrycza, Annette Baudisch

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:05 Dec 2013
Date published:20 May 2014
Word count:2700
Keywords:comparative aging research, intrinsic time scaling, mortality, senescence


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

Tomasz Wrycza - Max-Planck-Institut für Demografische Forschung, Germany [Email]
Annette Baudisch - Syddansk Universitet, Denmark [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Born once, die once: Life table relationships for fertility
Volume 44 - Article 2

» Evolution of fixed demographic heterogeneity from a game of stable coexistence
Volume 38 - Article 8

» Variance in age at death equals average squared remaining life expectancy at death
Volume 30 - Article 50

» Entropy of the Gompertz-Makeham mortality model
Volume 30 - Article 49

» How life expectancy varies with perturbations in age-specific mortality
Volume 27 - Article 13

» Senescence vs. sustenance: Evolutionary-demographic models of aging
Volume 23 - Article 23

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» An examination of black/white differences in the rate of age-related mortality increase
Volume 29 - Article 17    | Keywords: mortality, senescence

» Senescence vs. sustenance: Evolutionary-demographic models of aging
Volume 23 - Article 23    | Keywords: mortality, senescence

» Life expectancy loss among Native Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 47 - Article 9    | Keywords: mortality

» Berkeley Unified Numident Mortality Database: Public administrative records for individual-level mortality research
Volume 47 - Article 5    | Keywords: mortality

» The contribution of smoking-attributable mortality to differences in mortality and life expectancy among US African-American and white adults, 2000–2019
Volume 46 - Article 31    | Keywords: mortality