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Demographic issues related to mortality: Some observations from the mid-1950s

This is a brief review of:

Dorn HF. Some problems for research in mortality and morbidity. Public Health Rep. 1956 Jan;71(1):1-5.

This 1956 article, based on a paper originally presented at the 1955 annual meeting of the Population Association of America, provides an interesting historical snapshot of research into demographic issues in the United States and their associations with mortality.

Dorn's 1956 article provided a concise review of the state of knowledge regarding geographic, occupational, gender, and age-specific mortality rates in the US. The main conclusion to be drawn from the review may be that not much had been done at the time to analyze available vital statistics data. However, Dorn made a number of interesting observations about the limited analyses that had been done. For example, while it has been true for some time that mortality rates of males are higher than those of females at all ages, in the US mortality rates from age 15 to 34 were nearly as high for females as for males. As another example, Dorn points out that the pace of decline in mortality rates for men over age 40 in the US had not been keeping pace with the corresponding decline in a number of countries in northwest Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If facts such as these peak your interest, Dorn's brief review is well worth reading in its entirety.

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