Intercensal Change and the Indirect Estimation of Mortality: The Case of Pakistan

Margaret E. Greene


In a country such as Pakistan, where there is no vital
registration system, estimating mortality levels and trends can be
difficult. One way we can learn about mortality is to use indirect
estimation techniques on census age distributions. This paper applies
some of these techniques and evaluates the quality of the census data in
the process. Various researchers have found evidence of a mortality
pattern unique to South Asian populations, (Heligman 1985). They find
that the expectation of life for females is less than that for males
where values of e(O) range between 40 and 50 years, but that the
opposite is true where e(O) is between 60 and 70 years. This suggests
that as South Asian mortality declines, the sex differential disappears,
and the pattern is more like that found in the rest of the world.
Consistently high sex ratios above age 10 are characteristic of Pakistan
(see Table 1); the sex ratio at birth varies but tends to stay above
105, the expected value for most .populations (Visaria 1971). The
underenumeration of females at marriageable ages is the explanation
given by Krotki (1985) for the high sex ratios at ages 10-14 and 15-19.
The age distribution implies greater survival to those ages than one
would expect in a high fertility, high mortality population (see Table

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