General population life tables are used to calculate expected survival, representing survival for a comparable group of individuals free of cancer used in calculations of relative survival and crude probability of death statistics. These life tables are available and distributed with the SEER*Stat software. They represent the expected probabilities of surviving the interval conditional on being alive at the beginning of the interval, and are generated from the U.S. mortality data.

We have two sets of life tables: SES/Geography/Race Annual, available for years 1992+ and the U.S. Annual, available from 1970 with less detail by race.

SES/Geography/Race Annual Life Tables

  • These are the default life tables for databases and survival calculations that only include people with cancer diagnosed 1992+. Recommended for survival calculations by geography or by race/ethnicity groups other than All Races, White, and Black.
  • Available by sex, individual years 1992 through 2018, individual ages from 0-99 years, by mutually exclusive race/ethnicity groups(Non-Hispanic (NH) White, NH Black, NH American Indian/Alaskan Native, NH Asian and Pacific Islander, and Hispanics), and by varied geography.
  • SEER*Stat survival calculations uses the All Races life tables for Non-Hispanic with Unknown race and the 2018 life tables for diagnoses and follow-up beyond 2018.

U.S. Annual Life Tables

  • These are the default life tables for databases and survival calculations that include people with cancer diagnosed prior to 1992.
  • Available by sex, individual years 1970 through 2018, individual ages from 0-99 years, and three races (White, Black, and Other (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander)).
  • SEER*Stat survival calculations uses the All Races life tables for Unknown race and the 2018 life tables for diagnoses and follow-up beyond 2018.

Important information about calculating expected survival using these life tables:

  • Neither set of life tables is recommended when producing statistics for Asian or Pacific Islander sub-groups.
  • Expected survival probability for the maximum age (99) will be used to represent expected survival for any age greater than the maximum age.

Life Table Methods

SES/Geography/Race Annual Life Tables

  • The general methods are described in Mariotto et al., 2018External Web Site Policy
  • For the current 1992-2018 tables, calendar year was removed from the model and tables were calculated separately for each year from 1992-2018. For each year, three years of mortality data were used (e.g. 1991-1993 for 1992,…, 2017-2019 for 2018 table). In the future, we will not recalculate older years and will just add additional years, providing consistency for previous calendar years.

U.S. Annual Life Tables

1970-2000 Life Tables

  • For Whites, Blacks, and All Races we used published U.S. Decennial Life Tables from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000. Expected survival for individual years are interpolated from the decennial tables (years 1971-1979 from the 1970 and 1980 life tables, 1981-1989 from the 1980 and 1990 life tables, and 1991-1999 from the 1990 and 2000 tables). All Races Combined is used for calculation of expected survival for people with Unknown or Other Unspecified 1991+ race.
  • For Other (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander) race, we generated the 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 tables using standard methods for life table calculations with some modifications to incorporate information previously available on live births and 0-year old mortality counts broken down into <1 Day, 1-6 Days, 7-27 Days, and 28-364 Days. Similar interpolations were used to estimate life tables between the decennial years.

2001-2018 Life Tables

  • For 2001-2017, we used published NCHS U.S. Annual Life Tables for White, Black, and All Races combined (used for Other Unspecified Race 1990+ and Unknown race). For 2018, NCHS stopped providing tables for White or Black. We have included the 2018 Non-Hispanic White and 2018 Non-Hispanic Black tables for White and Black respectively. All Races Combined was provided by NCHS.
  • We generated the tables for the Other (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander) races category. Mortality rates for 2001-2018 with 3-year overlapping groups for each year (e.g., 2017-2019 for 2018) were used to generate the expected survival for Other Races for 2001-2018.
  • The 2009-2017 Other Race life tables were updated using revised intercensal population estimates.