A new look at entropy and the life table

Noreen Goldman, Graham Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The mathematical derivations described in this paper offer a new look at the entropy of the life table, denoted by H. Contrary to previous claims, it is theoretically possible, and has been observed empirically, for life tables to have entropy values greater than unity. A re-expression of H as a weighted average of life expectancy at different ages relative to life expectancy at birth demonstrates clearly the conditions under which reductions in mortality by a fixed amount at all ages can result in even greater gains in life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


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