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Life Expectancy

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Life expectancy is an estimate of the average number of additional years a person of a given age can expect to live. The most common measure of life expectancy is life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy is a hypothetical measure. It assumes that the age-specific death rates for the year in question will apply throughout the lifetime of those born in that year. The process, in effect, projects the age-specific mortality rates for a given period over the entire lifetime of the population born (or alive) during that time. The measure differs considerably by sex, age, race, and geographic location. Therefore, life expectancy is commonly given for specific categories, rather than for the population in general. For example, the life expectancy for white females in ...

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