Assessing the Validity of Adult Mortality Estimates Measured through Questions on Sibling Survival in Household Surveys

Emmanuela E. Gakidou, World Health Organization (WHO)
Christopher J.L. Murray, World Health Organization (WHO)
Margaret Hogan, World Health Organization (WHO)
Alan D. Lopez, World Health Organization (WHO)

Mortality measurement in developing countries has largely focused on child mortality; as a result reliable measures of adult mortality levels and trends are available for only a fraction of countries. This paper analyzes 34 Demographic and Health Survey datasets containing questions on sibling survival. Previous work in this area has found no systematic pattern of deviation from United Nations mortality estimates, though sibling measures appear to underestimate adult mortality when compared to reliable life tables. This paper applies formal statistical methods to examine trends in under-reporting of deaths of siblings in 29 countries and examines the possibility that under-reporting of sibling deaths relates to age difference between respondent and sibling. Preliminary results suggest systematic trends in under-reporting across countries, with much greater under-reporting for adult mortality than for child mortality. Formalizing underlying trends could lead to a correction method for under-reporting, allowing estimation of correction factors from established survey programs.

Presented in Session 74: Mortality Measurement