The difficulties of obtaining credible estimates of vital rates for the black population throughout the entire nineteenth century are overcome in this study. The methodology employed the notion of deviating networks of mortality rates for each general mortality level, which was taken from the United Nations studyThe Concept of a Stable Population. Period life tables and vital rates for intercensal periods were generated from the new estimates of the black population at each census date. The results of this study are highly compatible both with the life tables for the death-registration states in the twentieth century and the recent Coale and Rives reconstruction for the period from 1880 to 1970 and with several estimates of vital rates previously made for the mid-nineteenth century. This study places the mean life expectancy at birth for the black population during the nineteenth century at about 33.7 years for both sexes. The infant death rate (1000m0) is shown to have varied between 222 and 237 for females and between 266 and 278 for males. The intrinsic crude death rate centered on 30.4 per thousand during the century, while the birth rate declined from 53.2 early in the century to about 43.8 at the end.
An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2060484.