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The Construction of Life Tables for the American Indian Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century


  • J. David Hacker
  • Michael R. Haines


This paper constructs new life tables for the American Indian population in the late nineteenth and early nineteenth centuries, thus pushing back the availability of age-specific mortality and life expectancy estimates nearly half a century. Because of the lack of reliable vital registration data for the American Indian population in this period, the life tables are constructed using indirect census-based estimation methods. Infant and child mortality rates are estimated from the number of children ever born and children surviving reported by women in the 1900 and 1910 Indian censuses. Adult mortality rates are inferred from the infant and child mortality estimates using model life tables. Adult mortality rates are also estimated by applying the Preston-Bennett two-census method (1983) to the 1900-1910 intercensal period.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Hacker & Michael R. Haines, 2010. "The Construction of Life Tables for the American Indian Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 16134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16134
    Note: DAE

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913


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