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Homework answers / question archive / In this exercise you will learn about the life table, which is used to estimate life expectancy

In this exercise you will learn about the life table, which is used to estimate life expectancy


In this exercise you will learn about the life table, which is used to estimate life expectancy. You will use mortality data from the US National Center for Health Statistics National Vital Statistics System-CDC. Through this exercise, you will become familiar with online demographic data sources as well as the mortality patterns of the US population. You will learn how life expectancy is constructed by paying close attention to a life table, and in so doing, you will better understand the logic behind this fundamental measure of mortality.


Read the short segments on measuring mortality in Population: Introduction to Demography ??(page 12-13). Watch this short video explaining life expectancy (????????).

Work with me on a life tabl

We are going to start by walking through a life table together, specifically the one for the entire US population in 2018. Open this report (????????). Read the first two paragraphs of the Introduction to learn about cohort vs. period life tables. Today, we will be examining period life tables, and this is nearly always what is used to construct life expectancy. Read the first sentence of "Data and Methods" to learn where the data for the life table come from. Then read the entire section titled "Explanation of the columns of the life table." Examine Table 1. Now you get it, right? Just kidding.

Let's walk through Table 1 together. To do this, take and submit this quiz. Notice that you can correct any incorrect answers. You are getting credit (2 points) for completing and submitting the quiz, so make sure you do that. More importantly, I want you to actually learn how a life table works, so take your time reading and absorbing the content.

Pick a table and answer questions.

Now answer some questions about a life table on your own. Pick one of the other life tables in the same report from 2018: females, males, Hispanic population, Hispanic females, Hispanic males, white population, white females, white males, Black population, Black females, or Black males. In a word processing document that you will upload, tell us which life table you picked. Then answer the following questions in full sentences, using appropriate units of measurement when possible:

1. What was life expectancy at birth for the population you picked? Is this a projection of how long infants born in 2018 in this population will actually live? Why or why not? (3 pts)

2. Which age group has the smallest probability of death in the population you picked? (1 point)

3. What was life expectancy at age 25 in the population you picked? What is the expected life span for 25 year-olds in the population you picked? (For the second question, add life expectancy at age 25 to 25). Is this longer or shorter than life expectancy at birth, and why? (2 points)

4. Compare life expectancy at birth in the population you picked to another population in the report. What is the difference in their life expectancies at birth? (2 points)

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