Variation in life expectancy during the twentieth century in the United States.

University of Texas School of Public Health, 8550 Datapoint, Suite 200, San Antonio 78229-3440, USA.
Demography (Impact Factor: 1.93). 12/2006; 43(4):647-57. DOI:10.1353/dem.2006.0039
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reports life expectancy at birth (LE) for each year in the United States. Censal year estimates of LE use complete life tables. From 1900 through 1947, LEs for intercensal years were interpolated from decennial life tables and annual crude death rates. Since 1948, estimates have been computed from annual life tables. A substantial drop in variation in LE occurred in the 1940s. To evaluate these methods and examine variation without artifacts of different methods, we estimated a consistent series of both annual abridged life tables and LEs from official NCHS age-specific death rates and also LEs using the interpolation method for 1900-1998. Interpolated LEs are several times as variable as life table estimates, about 2 times as variable before 1940 and about 6.5 times as variable after 1950. Estimates of LE from annual life tables are better measures than those based on the mixed methods detailed in NCHS reports. Estimates from life tables show that the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on LE was much smaller than indicated by official statistics. We conclude that NCHS should report official estimates of intercensal LE for 1900-1948 computed from life tables in place of the existing LEs that were computed by interpolation.

0 0
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We reviewed period and cohort mortality for tuberculosis and influenza and pneumonia over the twentieth century and data on the roles of influenza and tuberculosis as underlying and contributory causes of death. As would be consistent with long-term trends, each cohort had lower tuberculosis mortality but there was no decisive downturn in age specific tuberculosis mortality for any male cohort until after 1945. Tuberculosis mortality among females fell steadily from cohort to cohort as well as within each cohort. In every cohort born from around 1890 to around 1930, tuberculosis mortality was higher among women than among men at ages under 30, suggesting that prevalence in women was also higher, but death rates of females crossed under those of males at about age 30. Tuberculosis death rates rose more for males than females around 1918; however, any unusual increase that could be attributable to the 1918 influenza pandemic must have been brief. Contrary to expectations in the medical community, tuberculosis mortality did not rise following the 1918 influenza pandemic. Some portion of the rise in death rates around 1918 may have been associated with the influenza, but a comparison of the increase in male tuberculosis mortality during and after World War II, when there was no influenza pandemic, with male mortality in a similar period during and after World War I suggests that any excess in tuberculosis mortality among males in both periods may have been due to wartime mobilization rather than influenza.
    Biodemography and Social Biology 02/2008; 54(1):74-94. · 1.37 Impact Factor
  • Biodemography and Social Biology 01/2008; 54(2):134-140. · 1.37 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mexican Americans have demonstrated lower than what would be expected mortality rates and disease prevalence, given their overrepresentation among those living in poverty. However, Mexican Americans living along the US-Mexico border have been documented as carrying a higher burden of disease and disability that seems to contradict or at least challenge evidence in support of a "Hispanic Paradox". The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the concept of border health as it relates to the conceptualization and measurement of health outcomes in older Mexican Americans living in the Southwest United States. Data for this study comes from the Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (Hispanic EPESE) wave 1 and mortality files up to wave 5. Border residence was determined using La Paz Agreement county and distance from a port of entry classifications. Statistical analysis was conducted to assess border versus non-border differences in cause of death, disability, disease prevalence and premature mortality. Adjusted regression models were used to predict cause of death, disability and disease-free life expectancy and premature mortality (i.e. occurring before life expectancy). Interaction models between border/non-border and median income were also performed. Finally, distance from the US-Mexico border was used to determine the effect of distance to the US-Mexico border in border-residing participants. The findings from this study indicate that participants in the HEPESE were more likely to be alive at Wave 5 if they resided in a border county, however more likely to transition into ADL disability status. These findings were not explained by behaviors, duration in the US or sociocultural characteristics of where they lived. Additionally, Hispanic EPESE subjects that lived in the border region were more likely to have died from old age and were less likely to be lost to follow up. Interaction models revealed significant effects for diabetes as a cause of death. Moreover, distance from a US-Mexico port of entry was significant for being alive at wave 5 for border-residing participants. Relative to non-border residing participants, border residing Mexican Americans in the Hispanic EPESE did not carry a uniformly higher burden of disease, however had a significantly greater odds of 10 year survival. These findings bring up issues of measurement and the importance of geographic location when it comes to evaluating disease burden and mortality in Mexican Americans.
    Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 07/2013;

David W. Smith