Model life tables are commonly used for estimating various parameters of mortality of populations in developing countries with limited data. The application of the models is based on the assumption that the agemortality pattern of the population under consideration resembles one of the life tables in the models. The analysis in this paper tests the validity of this assumption for developing countries with data usable for the purpose. The major conclusion is that infant mortality in the populations analyzed is higher than predicted by the models corresponding to the levels of adult mortality of these populations. The observed discrepancy is ascribed to the selectivity involved in the construction of model life tables, which are primarily derived from the historical experience of Western countries. Populations in the currently developing countries apparently differ in the process of mortality change from those used in the models. Though the analysis is limited to a few countries and may not necessarily be true for all the less developed countries, it suggests the need for caution in the use of conventional model life tables.

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