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Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Comparisons of Data in Human Males in Sullivan County, NY
JUSTIN HASENFUS, The Richard Stockton State College of New Jersey

ABSTRACT: A study of the life expectancies, mortality rates, and survivorship data of human males in
Sullivan County, New York, was conducted on September 28th, 2012. Time periods under scrutiny of comparison from the Lew Beach Cemetery and Rock Ridge Cemetery, were from 1946 to 1998 and 1870-1915, respectively. Data were collected from each source and analyzed to determine if there were any similarities or differences among the data. It was hypothesized that there were a number of factors that contributed to the incline of mortality and subsequent decline in survivorship of the Rock Ridge dataset (RRD), when compared to that of the Lew Beach dataset (LBD). Factors included a deficient healthcare system, an incursion of immigrants carrying disease across continents, adverse working conditions to which the city-dwelling workforce were exposed, and the total pollution accumulated by the spark of the Industrial revolution. This hypothesis was accepted, supporting the notion that the differences in mortality, survivorship, and life expectancy rates between the two datasets were due to identifiable, or at least justifiable, non-confounding factors.

KEYWORDS: life expectancy, mortality, survivorship, kurtosis

1. INTRODUCTION
Life Tables can be a very handy tool for scientists or anyone generally interested in the health of a population of individuals over a specified time period. By collecting and interpreting data from a specific time period, one can calculate such figures as mortality rates, survivorship, and life expectancy. When viewed together as a whole, this data can give you a general idea about how the populations growth rate trended and in what direction (increasing or decreasing). It is important to be able to identify patterns in survivorship and mortality, since these are the best indicators of a populations ability to adapt and survive to the corresponding area of research. As one examines a populations life table, trends within the population can be identified. The scientific study covered in this paper pertains to the populations of human males that lived and died in Sullivan County, New York. The time periods 1870 to 1915 and 1946 to 2000, were observed. This paper aims to examine the collected data and attempts to draw conclusions about Sullivan Countys population trends. The Industrial Revolution began around 1760 and surged on into the 1850s (Montagna 2012). With increasing industrial efficiency, came increasing industrial pollution. This created unfavorable working conditions, all in the name of economical growth and profit (Hackett 1992). A huge wave of immigration to the United States around this time was also noted, and may have brought with it, disease from other

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

countries (Mori 2011). New York has been a marquee point of entry for Europeans and foreigners alike, introducing around 20 million new individuals to the population from the late 19th century to the early 20th century (New York - Migration 2010). This influx of disease, coupled with an increasing rate of pollution and unfavorable working conditions, may have affected the Sullivan County population around this time. Individuals living during the earlier time periods (Rock Ridge data) may have been more adversely affected than those living during later periods (Lew Beach data).

2. METHODS
The study began with the collection of data from an internet source, www.Interment.net (Sullivan County Cemetery Records New York 1997-2011). Data were collected from two separate cemeteries and from two separate time periods. Data were selected from the Rock Ridge Cemetery in Thompson, NY1 from the time period 1870-1915, and from the Lew Beach Cemetery, located in Rockland, NY2, from the time period 1946 to 2000. The information located on the website were derived from tombstones in the corresponding cemetery. Males were the gender of interest. A life table was constructed through Microsoft Excel. Data were copied and pasted into cells in an Excel spreadsheet (raw data), separated into columns for sex, first and last name, year of birth, year of death, and age of death. The data was then sorted by sex, to attain the gender of interest, males. Data was then sorted by year of death to filter out individuals who were irrelevant to the desired time periods in the study. After the target data were attained, a sample size was reached. Calculations for the life table could then be made. Sample sizes were 209 individuals for the Lew Beach Cemetery and 312 for the Rock Ridge Cemetery (Hasenfus 2012). The first calculation was to simply count the number of individuals that had died within the time period. These numbers were then entered into 10 year age-intervals, starting with the 0-<10 age interval and increasing until age 100. The 100+ age interval in Table 1 is an example of the final age-interval (Hasenfus 2012). Calculations included: crude lx (number of people alive at the beginning of each age interval), lx ( number of people alive standardized per thousand), crude dx (number of people dying during each age interval), qx (mortality rate), Lx (average number of people alive during the period between one age interval and the next), Tx (number of people-decades left to the entire group from age x to the end of their lives), ex (life expectancy) (Geller 2012). Peopledecades were calculated as well. These are best defined by example: ten individuals living one year or one individual living ten years are examples of a people-decade (Geller 2012). These calculations were used to generate two life tables, one for each the Lew Beach Cemetery and Rock Ridge Cemetery. Mortality and survivorship curves were then generated, based upon the target
1

Mortality data for human males in Lew Beach Cemetery were collected from the following sources: Records Index, Surnames A-K http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/sullivan/lewbeach/lew_ak.htm Records Index, Surnames L-Z http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/sullivan/lewbeach/lew_lz.htm 2 Mortality data for human males in Rock Ridge Cemetery were collected from the following sources: http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/sullivan/rockridge/index.htm

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

data. The mortality curve was used to present a graphical representation of the rate at which the population of individuals within the sample size died over time throughout each age-interval. The survivorship curve was used to depict the survival of individuals of age-specific time intervals for the target data. 3. RESULTS The number of individuals who died at an early age during the 1870-1915 period (data extracted from the Rock Ridge Cemetery) significantly differs from that of the 1946-2000 period (data extracted from the Lew Beach Cemetery). The number is higher for the RRD and fluctuates a bit more than that of the LBD, which has one normal hill of fluctuation. By the age interval of 40-<50, the population of individuals in the LBD had remained mostly intact, retaining a relatively high lx value throughout the age intervals until the 70-<80 age interval was reached. At this point, lx decreased drastically. The RRD differed from the LBD significantly in one respect; during the 40-<50 age-interval, one-third of the sample Rock Ridge population had died off, leading to a steadily decreasing lx value into the 60-<70 age-interval, where it began to drop off more quickly (Hasenfus 2012, Tables 1 and 2). Dx (dx) spiked for both datasets during the 70-<80 age interval. The LBD followed a trend close to normal distribution, whereas the RRD was a little less consistent with a normal distribution curve. That is, if we were to fit them both to a bell-shaped curve, the LBD would most closely fit out of the two. The RRD curve exhibited slightly leptokurtic features, with more data points clustered at the 70-<80 age interval. This created a peak that is taller in height than a normal distribution curve, termed mesokurtic.

(Hasenfus 2012, Tables 1 and 2) The RRD scored higher mortality rates (qx) through all age intervals (Hasenfus 2012, Tables 1 and 2). The LBD posted higher survivorship numbers (Lx) than did the RRD. The total number of years lived into the future by individuals in each age interval (Tx) also shows the LBD as scoring higher values than the RRD.

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

The life expectancy rate (ex) follows this pattern and favors higher values in each and every age interval for the LBD. 4. DISCUSSION The RRD revealed more variance than did the LBD, due to unregulated confounding factors. The RRD represents the earlier time period (1870-1915) and the LBD represents the later time period (19462000). The higher standards of living reflected in the LBD could be attributed to timely advancements in civilization in the Northeastern United States. The increased early-age deaths presented by the RRD can be explained by the advancements in modern medicine over the past century. It wasnt until the late 1860s that antiseptic practices in the operating room were made commonplace. It was not until the late 1870s that vaccines for devastating diseases and ailments, such as cholera, tetanus, anthrax, and the plague, were developed (Information Please 2007). With the increased levels of immigration during this period, harmful pathogens could have been introduced due to the lack of medical knowledge at the time. It is not unlikely that the Sullivan County population was effected by these factors, as it is located relatively close to a major water body.

**Green area is Sullivan County, New York. Light blue areas are water boides, one on the right being the Atlantic Ocean (Sullivan County 2012). The number of Irish immigrants coming to the U.S. alone, is relatively close enough to the RRD time period (1870-1915) to explain why the RRD displays lower life expectancy (ex) and higher mortality rates (qx). The less uniform mortality curve and more rigid survivorship curves for the LBD are also explained by this (Hasenfus 2012); the LBD was sampled during a time period when the medical status and environmental regulation of the United States was tighter and therefore, more effective.

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

(rootsweb n.d.) Environmental pollution in the United States was not examined thouroughly until the mid-1930s. This meant that pollution generated by the Industrial Revolution, was free to circulate through the air supply and into the soils and hydrologic cycle (Environmental History Timeline n.d.). Pollution was not regulated officially until the 1970s, well after the time period of that of the RRD (Timeline of Key Environmental Legislation 2011). The mortality curve of the RRD starts rather high, then dips, than rises again. This could be explained by looking at the age intervals over which this occurs. From birth, chance of mortality in a medically poor or sanitation-deficient society is higher, especially for babies, whose immune systems are immature and unable to fight disease (Hill 2010). If survival was achieved until age 10, then mortality would decrease, perhaps as children are viewed as having more value (being older and more useful) and are protected and looked after more. Upon reaching age 20, the young adult then may have entered the working force and been more heavily exposed to pollution and disease, increasing mortality. CONCLUSION As with any complex, real world study or model, a certain level of uncertainty accompanies confounding factors. Standard error than becomes relevant. After further research of the RRD and LBD, it has been concluded that enough evidence supports the acceptance (or failure to reject) of the proposed hypothesis, with a sufficient enough level of confidence to hold firm. I believe that the sample size was large enough to say with ample precision and accuracy, given the statistics at hand, that the stratified random sampling method used, united with the logistics of the hypothesis and its supporting arguments, yields reasonablably justifiable results.

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

APPENDIX

Table 1. Life Table of Human Males Based on Mortality Data from 1946-present. Data were collected from the Lew Beach Cemetery, located in Rockland, NY (Sullivan County).
x 0 - < 10 10 - < 20 20 - < 30 30 - < 40 40 - < 50 50 - < 60 60 - < 70 70 - < 80 80 - < 90 90 - < 100 100 + Sample Size died 3 1 1 4 10 21 52 59 46 11 1 209 crude lX 209 206 205 204 200 190 169 117 58 12 1 lx 1000 986 981 976 957 909 809 560 278 57 5 dx 14 5 5 19 48 100 249 282 220 53 5 qx 0.014 0.005 0.005 0.020 0.050 0.111 0.308 0.504 0.793 0.917 1.000 Lx 993 983 978 967 933 859 684 419 167 31 2 Tx 7017 6024 5041 4062 3096 2163 1304 620 201 33 2 ex 70.2 61.1 51.4 41.6 32.4 23.8 16.1 11.1 7.2 5.8 5.0

Table 2. Life Table of Human Males Based on Mortality Data from 1870 - 1915. Data were collected from the Rock Ridge Cemetary, located in Thompson, NY (Sullivan County).
x 0 - < 10 10 - < 20 20 - < 30 30 - < 40 40 - < 50 50 - < 60 60 - < 70 70 - < 80 80 - < 90 90 - < 100 Sample Size died 32 10 25 24 22 26 58 72 36 7 312 crude lX 312 280 270 245 221 199 173 115 43 7 lx 1000 897 865 785 708 638 554 369 138 22 dx 103 32 80 77 71 83 186 231 115 22 qx 0.103 0.036 0.093 0.098 0.100 0.131 0.335 0.626 0.837 1.000 Lx 949 881 825 747 673 596 462 253 80 11 Tx 5478 4529 3647 2822 2075 1402 806 345 91 11 ex 54.8 50.5 42.1 35.9 29.3 22.0 14.5 9.3 6.6 5.0

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship Data Patterns: Sullivan County, NY Comparison

LITERATURE CITED

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