|Analyzing the Historical Life Table of Thomas Young
|Thomas Young (1773-1829) is one of the greatest thinkers and polymaths. His scientific work includes significant contributions in the fields of medicine, physics, anthropology and ancient history. Less well known, however, is Young's demographic contribution. In 1826, Thomas Young examined graphical curves of mortality of his epoch (decrement tables of the deceased) to see if they matched a formula he had developed. Looking for a law of mortality, he created a high order polynomial for the function of mortality. We use modern demographic methods to analyze and criticize his life table. Young's discrete life table is fitted by a continuous life table function (Lazarus distribution) in order to calculate important parameters. It is shown that Young's formula is an early and successful method of determining a model life table. It corresponds to a particular life table of Coale and Demeny. The article concludes with an exploration of Young's mortality formula of 1816, a concise yet foundational model, showcasing its ability to facilitate calculations of vital functions like life expectancy and the force of mortality, despite its lesser-known status.
Model Life Table
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