This paper seeks to extend our knowledge about mortality in the late nineteenth century United States by using census mortality data for older children and teenagers to fit model tables. The same method can also be used with partially underregistered death data. The most commonly used model tables, the Coale and Demeny West Model, apparently do not adequately depict the changing shape of mortality over the period 1850–1910. An alternative model life table system is presented, based on the Brass two parameter logit system and available reliable life tables from the period 1850–1910. The two parameter system must be reduced to a one parameter system by means of estimated relationships between the parameters so that the fitting procedure can be used. The resulting model system is, however, heavily dependent on the experience of northern, industrial states, especially Massachusetts.

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