Evaluation of the variants of the Lee-Carter method of forecasting mortality

a multi-country comparison

Heather Booth, Leonie Tickle, Len Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Lee-Carter (LC) method of mortality forecasting is well known and widely used. Two recent variants are the Lee-Miller (LM) variant and the Booth-Maindonald-Smith (BMS) variant. Both aim to improve the performance of the method. These two variants and the original Lee-Carter method are evaluated using data for twenty populations for 1900-2001, with the fitting period ending in 1985 and the forecast period beginning in 1986. Forecast errors are compared and decomposed, and uncertainty is examined. For these short-term forecasts, the two variants are generally more accurate than the LC method with narrower prediction intervals; and BMS marginally outperforms LM on these criteria overall. Further evaluation using different fitting periods is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-34
Number of pages22
JournalNew Zealand population review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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