Life Potential as a Basic Demographic Indicator
This working paper proposes an indicator that integrates life expectancy with the demographic structure of the population for a given society, combining the simple indicators of mortality and aging. Life expectancy at birth is independent of the demographic structure of the population and is, therefore, adequate for measuring overall mortality.
However, it neglects to take into account the fact that life expectancy increases as society ages. We propose a simple indicator that integrates life expectancy at different ages, not only at birth, with the demographic structure of the population at a given point in time. The indicator has an intuitive interpretation in terms of the life potential, or biological capital, of society; and given that it is a weighted average, its changes can be easily decomposed into reductions in mortality (gains in life expectancy) and aging for different age intervals.