DATABASE: Life and Death, By the Numbers

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Science  11 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5553, pp. 239
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5553.239b

A Frenchman born at the turn of the last century could expect to live a paltry 43 years, and a black man born in the United States in 1968 will probably live only 16 years longer. Those are some of the figures you can glean from the Berkeley Mortality Database, compiled by demographer John Wilmoth of the University of California, Berkeley. Despite the name, this collection of data sets is concerned with more than death; it also enumerates births, life expectancies, and population sizes for Sweden, the United States, France, and Japan. The Swedish data begin in 1749, while the U.S. data start in 1900 and Japan's in 1950. You can view the data in several ways, such as by 1-year or 10-year intervals or in a life table showing numbers of deaths and death rate in each age group.

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