Methods are presented which produce Maximum Likelihood Estimates (MLE) of the degree of heterogeneity in individual mortality risks under a variety of assumptions about the age trajectory of those mortality risks. With these estimates of the degree of population heterogeneity it is possible to adjust comparisons of mortality risks across populations for the effects of population heterogeneity, differential mortality selection, and different age trajectories of the force of mortality. These methods are demonstrated by applying a variety of standard assumptions about the age trajectory of the force of mortality to the analysis of a broad range of cohort mortality data for the U.S. and Swedish populations. The estimates of the degree of heterogeneity, produced under all of the selected force of mortality models, consistently indicated a considerable degree of heterogeneity in mortality risks.
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