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Multi-state Analysis of Marital Status Life Tables: Theory and Application

F. J. Willekens, I. Shah, J. M. Shah and P. Ramachandran
Population Studies
Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar., 1982), pp. 129-144
DOI: 10.2307/2174163
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2174163
Page Count: 16
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Multi-state Analysis of Marital Status Life Tables: Theory and Application
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Abstract

A multi-state life table, also known as a multi-dimensional or an increment-decrement life-table, is a generalization of the conventional life table. Members of a birth cohort are followed as they age, and move between various states of life. In this paper, the mathematical theory of multi-state life table construction is reviewed. It is shown that the mathematics becomes simple if the matrix approach, initiated by Rogers for the design of multi-regional life tables, is adopted. The theory is used to construct a multi-state nuptiality table for Belgium. An innovative feature of multi-state analysis is that the life tables obtained for each of the marital states are interrelated, since an individual leaving a particular status enters another which eventually may be left again. Life table functions not only depend on age but also on current and/or previous marital status. In the paper it is shown how the patterns of marital change, experienced by Belgian women as they age, differ with their marital status at the age of 20. The differences are particularly large for the pattern of divorce.

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