At a Glance
Human Life-Table Database
Conducted by Dmitri A. Jdanov; Ainhoa Alustiza Galarza, Vladimir M. Shkolnikov; in Collaboration with Magali Barbieri (University of California, Berkeley, USA and French National Institute for Demographic Studies, Paris, France), France Meslé, Jacques Vallin (both: French National Institute for Demographic Studies, Paris, France), Evgeny M. Andreev (National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation)
The Human Life-Table Database (HLD) documents the evolution of human mortality by providing a quantitative life-table description of mortality patterns. The database publishes period life tables, either complete or abridged ones. Most of them are life tables on national populations officially published by national statistical offices. Some of the tables cover certain regional or ethnic subpopulations within countries. The database also includes non-official life tables produced by research organizations or researchers. It also provides methodological information on life-table calculation and on the different approaches to publishing mortality data used in different countries in different times.
Three international scientific institutions are involved in the HLD project: the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany; the Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley, USA; and the French Institute for Demographic Studies in Paris, France. The MPIDR is responsible for maintaining the database.
The HLD is a satellite project of the Human Mortality Database (HMD). In contrast to the HMD, the HLD has no strong data quality requirements and includes a much broader range of national and subnational life tables, some of which might be less reliable than those published in the HMD. The HLD is essentially a collection of mortality data produced by different organizations or individual researchers using different methods; the data thus are not strictly comparable across time or populations. Moreover, HLD may provide several alternative life tables for the same population and year. HLD users should carefully examine which HLD data are more appropriate for their research.
The HLD was launched in 2002. A large set of life tables included was collected by Väinö Kannisto, a former United Nations advisor on demographic and social statistics. J.W. Vaupel, the founding director of the MPIDR, provided the general guidance to the HLD project.
The HLD website was improved substantially in 2017. The database was redesigned to present tables for a larger number of national populations, and especially for various types of subpopulations within countries. The revamped database included about 4,700 new tables. Currently, it provides more than 9,600 period life tables for 141 countries or geographical areas around the world. The database is updated on a regular basis.
HLD data include two types of life tables: original life tables as published, and recalculated life tables. The latter allow for comparability (with respect to the computation method) across countries and calendar years. The original life tables are provided through scanned copies as they were originally published, and they include the proper data source reference. Recalculated life tables are provided in txt files, and country-specific life tables are published in pooled CSV files. A master CSV file including life tables for all countries and years is provided too. All data are freely available and no registration is required to access it. The non-exhaustive list of publications that used and cited the HLD data is available on the HMD website.
Aging, Mortality and Longevity, Data and Surveys, Historical Demography, Statistics and Mathematics
MPIDR Technical Report TR-2010-005. (2010)