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Vital Health Stat 2. 2000;(129):1-28.

A method for constructing complete annual U.S. life tables.



This report describes a method for constructing complete annual U.S. life tables and for extending the age coverage of the life table to age 100. Previously, annual life tables were based on an abridged methodology and were closed with the age category 85 years and over. In the United States, approximately one-third of the population survives beyond age 85 years. This fact, coupled with improvements in age reporting and the availability of higher quality old-age mortality data, recommends that the life table be closed at an older age.


The method, similar to that used to construct the decennial life tables, uses vital statistics and census data to calculate death rates for ages under 85 years and Medicare data for ages 85 years and over. Previously, the annual life tables were abridged, and used only vital statistics and census data.


The complete life table methodology described in this report produces estimates of life expectancy at ages 100 years and younger that are consistent with previously published life tables. Complete life tables based on 1996 mortality data compared favorably with published 1996 abridged life tables and with the 1989-91 decennial life tables. The methodology was implemented beginning with final mortality data for 1997.

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