Boosted mortality models with age and spatial shrinkage


This paper extends the technique of gradient boosting in mortality forecasting. The two novel contributions are to use stochastic mortality models as weak learners in gradient boosting rather than trees, and to include a penalty that shrinks the forecasts of mortality in adjacent age groups and nearby geographical regions closer together. The proposed method demonstrates superior forecasting performance based on US male mortality data from 1969 to 2019. The boosted model with age-based shrinkage yields the most accurate national-level mortality forecast. For state-level forecasts, spatial shrinkage provides further improvement in accuracy in addition to the benefits achieved by age-based shrinkage. This additional improvement can be attributed to data sharing across states with both large and small populations in adjacent regions, as well as states which share common risk factors.

Working Paper