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Life Table Analysis

Life Table Analysis

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Published by Dan Lockward
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Published by: Dan Lockward on Mar 11, 2013
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Analysis of patterns in two populations of women in Suffolk County, NYconcerning mortality, survivorship and life expectancy
Daniel LockwardThe Richard Stockton College of New Jersey5 October 2011
It is a given that mortality rates as a whole have decreased over time. To prove this, it isnecessary to study the patterns in the death rates of two distinct populations fromdifferent time periods. The way that this is done is through the construction of life tables,which make sense of life and death data. Life expectancy is defined as the age that a person has the potential to live until based on current mortality rates (University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1995). Through a series of mathematical calculations, life tablesare easy to use to figure out life expectancy data. From these data, one can examinemortality rates, survivorship, and life expectancy in 10 year intervals, all the way from birth to age 100. That being said, the point of this analysis is to examine the patterns inmortality, survivorship, and life expectancy of two populations of women spread acrossSuffolk County, NY.
Using interment.com, an online death records website, 253 records of women werecollected from various cemeteries in Suffolk County, NY. This location was chosen atrandom. Using Excel with some help from Word and text documents, the men and anyentries with insufficient data were first omitted to narrow the sample to one sex withdefinite death dates. Following this, the records were sorted by year of death so that thesedata could be split into two distinctive categories. These two distinctive categories weredeaths between 1860-1930 and 1950-present. Using instructions provided by theEcological Principles Laboratory Manual (Geller, 2011), two life tables were constructed based upon age of death during the two time periods. Finally, two figures wereconstructed based upon the data from those life tables which show the differences inmortality rates and survivorship in the two populations.
These data reflected the fact that mortality rates have decreased over time. The mortalityrate of the population dying between 1950 to present day, averaging at .304 or 30.4% wasaround 13.2% lower than those who died between 1860 and 1930 (Tables 1-2). Therewere a few age ranges worth noting. First and foremost, for the population dying between1860-1930 and the age range of 80-90 years old, there was a surprisingly low mortalityrate of .533 (Table 1). This outlier exists due to the sample selected and would likely beheightened provided that a bigger sample be studied. Second, there were similar mortalityrates between the two populations at the age ranges of 10-20 years with a 3% difference
and 30-40 years with a 1.8% difference (Figure 1). It is also safe to say that this gap can be widened by using a much bigger sample. Besides the aforementioned points, thesample supports the claim that mortality rates have decreased over time. Thesesurvivorship data support the claim as well, with the older population having lesssurvivorship overall (Figure 2). The gap starts to widen at the age range of 70-80 on anexponential decline, but this should be expected when taking into account the increasingage (Figure 2). Overall, the survivorship of the population from 1950 to present was 20%more than the older population (Figure 2).
The first point to consider when discussing why mortality rates were higher for the older  population is the abundance of sickness, quality of living conditions, and lack of medicaladvancements. When compared to the 1950s until present day, these factors were muchmore of a problem between 1860-1930. There is a noticeable discrepancy between thetwo populations with children dying before age 10, being that substantially more died before that age in the older population. It is said that 25% of infants in the nineteenthcentury did not survive (McVeigh, 2000). Causes of this are likely due to malnutritionand poor living conditions. With poor food and subpar living conditions comes reducedimmunity. This made infants more susceptible to diseases in the nineteenth century likecholera, which is a noncontagious diarrheal infection occurring in infants (Tebbetts,2001). In regards to the population from 1950 to the present, a lower mortality rate exists because the human race became more proactive in improving living conditions. Notablemedical advancements include the usage and widespread production of penicillinantibiotics, which skyrocketed in 1943 and continued to after World War II ended (Wong,2003). Penicillin is an antibiotic produced by blue molds and is used to treat infectionslike strep throat, meningitis, and tonsillitis (Wong, 2003). This, along with better sanitation of medical institutions, accounts for an increase in life expectancy. As of 2009,life expectancy in the United States was 78.7 years (World Bank, World DevelopmentIndicators, 2009) as opposed to 43.6 years in 1860 (Haines, 2008).Survivorship was lacking more from 1850 to 1930 because of the same concepts. Peoplewho died in that time period were born at a time where quality of life was even worse,and during the times of immigration, tons of infections came over to the United States
that the populations were not used to. Suffolk County’s spatia
l location puts it in a primearea for exposure to these diseases, being that it is located not far from New York City.From 1950 until present day, people have a better chance of living longer due to the
medical industry’s ability to treat a lot of infect
ions that would have taken lives in thenineteenth century.
Geller, M. D. 2011. Manual for Ecological Principles Laboratory, ENVL 2205, Fall 2011.Richard Stockton College of NJ. Pomona, NJ.Haines, M. 2008. "Fertility and Mortality in the United States."
 EH.Net Encyclopedia.
McVeigh, D. 2000. "An Early History of the Telephone 1664-1865."
. http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/projects/bluetelephone/html/health.htmlTebbetts, P. 2001. "Nineteenth Century Diseases."
.http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~memigrat/diseases.htmlUniversity of Missouri-Kansas City, 1995. "Glossary of Caregiving Terms."
University of  Missouri-Kansas City
. http://cas.umkc.edu/casww/glossary.htmWorld Bank, World Development Indicators. 2011. "Life expectancy."
The World Bank.
http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_le00_in&idim=country:USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=average+life+expectancyWong, G. 2003. "Penicillin, The Wonder Drug."
The University of Hawaii
 Table 1. Life Table of Human Females in Suffolk County, NY between 1860-1930.Data gathered from various cemeteries in Suffolk County.x died crude lx lx dx qx Lx Tx ex0-<10 24 130 1000 185 0.185 908 4864 48.610-<20 5 106 815 38 0.046 796 3956 48.520-<30 15 101 777 115 0.148 720 3160 40.730-<40 3 86 662 23 0.035 650 2440 36.940-<50 9 83 638 69 0.108 604 1790 28.150-<60 14 74 569 108 0.190 516 1186 20.860-<70 21 60 462 162 0.351 381 670 14.570-<80 24 39 300 185 0.617 208 289 9.680-<90 13 15 115 100 0.870 65 81 7.090-<100 1 2 15 8 0.533 12 16 10.7100+ 1 1 8 8 1.000 4 4 5.0

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