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U.S. decennial life tables for 1989-81, volume 1, number 2, Methodology of the national and state life tables
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    This report describes the methodology employed in pre- paring the 1989–91 decennial life tables for the United States, the 50 individual States, and the District of Columbia. Prelimi- nary adjustments that were made to the data before the life tables were constructed are discussed. Also the different methodologies used at very young ages and at very old ages are explained separately.

    There were two changes in the methodology of these life tables from those of the previous tables (1979–81). The technique used to smooth the death rates in the State tables was changed and the method of terminating both the national and State life tables, which was developed by the Office of the Actuary, Social Security Administration, was also changed. Because of the small numbers of deaths involved, the smooth- ing process used in the 1979–81 tables was changed. Instead of moving whole deaths from one age group to another, the new process allowed moving tenths of deaths. This produces death rates that are more consistent with the level of the observed death rates but still allows the rates to be smoothed. The method of terminating the life tables was changed because the previous method resulted in unrealistically low death rates at ages over 95 years. The 1989–91 rates are appreciably higher than those in the 1979–81 life tables.

    8-0552 (8/98)


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