Journal Article

A unified framework of demographic time

Riffe, T., Schöley, J., Villavicencio, F.

Genus, 73:7 (2017)


Keywords: age, cohort analysis, mathematical demography, time series


Demographic thought and practice is largely conditioned by the Lexis diagram, a two-dimensional graphical representation of the identity between age, period, and birth cohort. This relationship does not account for remaining years of life, total length of life, or time of death, whose use in demographic research is both underrepresented and incompletely situated. We describe an identity between these six demographic time measures and describe the sub-identities and diagrams that pertain to this identity. We provide an application of this framework to the measurement of late-life morbidity prevalence. We generalize these relationships to higher order identities derived from an arbitrary number of events in calendar time. Our examples are based on classic human demography, but the concepts we present can reveal patterns and relationships in any event history data, and contribute to the study of human or non-human population dynamics measured on any scale of calendar time.