Death, Dying, and Bereavement
Due: December 4, 2013
Mortality rates paint a portrait of how people are dying. Demographically-speaking, a rate expresses an event relative to a population at risk. Therefore, a mortality rate tells us the number of deaths relative to the number of people at risk for dying (which of course includes everyone living). Sometimes mortality rates are broken down by various socio-demographic characteristics such as sex, race/ethnicity, and age. In this assignment, we will explore some of the variation in mortality rates in order to gain a better understanding of the dying conditions among different groups in the United States.
Please answer the following four questions (separately), include a bibliography and type your answers. This assignment is due December 4, 2013! Your answers to these questions should be approximately 4-5 pages (with the bibliography!) typed. The point value of each question is indicated next to the question. Your assignment will be graded on (1) accuracy of information and data presented, (2) writing, including grammar, punctuation and bibliographic formatting, and (3) argumentation and reasoning (do the explanations make sense, does the student make good use of the sources suggested, etc.).
 (Worth 10%) Many factors determine when individuals are going to die and there are numerous Web sites that will try to give you some indication of when you might die. Go to the death clock (http://www.deathclock.com/) and examine when they predict you will die. According to this web site, when will you die? What variables were used to determine when you would die? What would make the death clock more scientific? In other words, what independent variables have they excluded that might be important in determining the timing of your death? Please be specific and indicate at least three independent variables that you think are also important. (For each independent variable, please also indicate exactly how you would measure it. In other words, what question would you ask and what would the possible response options be?) For each variable that you have described, please also indicate exactly how you think it is likely to influence an individual’s life expectancy.  (Worth 30%) The Statistical Abstract of the United States has information on the life expectancy of different racial and ethnic groups, broken down by gender. The life expectancy at birth tells you the average remaining years of life for newborn in a particular place, assuming constant mortality rates for a given year. Thus, for example, the projected life expectancy of all persons in the US in 2015 is 78.9. This tells you that on average, a person will live to be 78.9 years in the US assuming 2015 age-specific mortality rates.
Go to the web site of the Census Bureau to obtain information on the projected 2015 life expectancies for different racial groups in the US. (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s0102.pdf). Please report and interpret (as described above) the projected life expectancy at birth for the following groups in the year 2015 in the US: (1) all races, both sexes; (2) all races, males only; (3) all races, females only; (4) whites, both sexes; (5) whites, males only; (6) whites, females only; (7) blacks, males and females, (8) blacks, males only; (9) blacks, females only. After you have reported these and interpreted them (as illustrated in my example), please answer the following questions:
How do you explain the variation (that is, the differences) in life expectancy that you have reported? Why does it differ among the races and what specific diseases contribute to the differences in life expectancy? You may use whatever sources you want to address this question, but be sure to cite them appropriately (and please use at least two). A few interesting sources:
There is a very interesting article that