Abstract

The schedule of mortality by age for Philadelphia’s 1880 population classified by sex and race showed aberrations from Coale and Demeny West, South, and North model life tables. Deviations from standard age patterns of mortality were especially pronounced for the black population. The question addressed in this paper is whether the alternative age patterns of mortality are produced by underenumeration in the 1880census or by actual variations in the age–specific mortality experience. The conclusion was reached that the underenumeration of the urban population, especially the blacks, exceeds estimates for the national population. In addition, the results indicated that the black population faced risks of dying that genuinely differed from standard age patterns. An attempt to use a Brass logit model to generalize the black mortality experience met with success for females but not for males.

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