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New Methods for Tables of School Life, with Applications to U. S. Data from Recent School Years

Kenneth C. Land and George C. Hough, Jr.
Journal of the American Statistical Association
Vol. 84, No. 405 (Mar., 1989), pp. 63-75
DOI: 10.2307/2289847
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2289847
Page Count: 13
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New Methods for Tables of School Life, with Applications to U. S. Data from Recent School Years
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Abstract

Using current and retrospective school-enrollment data from October Current Population Surveys (CPS's) together with demographic accounts for the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population, this study specifies new methods for the estimation of school-life tables. The new methods combine multistate (increment-decrement) methods for those ages for which CPS data on enrollment flows are available together with prevalence-rate methods for other ages for which CPS data are available on enrollment stocks alone. Applying an algorithm to construct tables of school life for the 1969-1970, 1974-1975, 1979-1980, and 1984-1985 school years, it is found that, between the ages of 14 and 34, most sex-, race-, and school-year-specific groups have an average of 1.5 to 2.0 exits per person, from enrolled to not enrolled in school. These exits are interspersed by an average of .5 to 1.0 exits per person, from not enrolled to enrolled in school. Since prevalence-rate life-table methods arbitrarily constrain individuals to only one exit from school enrollment to not enrolled over the life course, this finding verifies the need for increment-decrement methods for the teenage and young-adult years. Several other findings regarding differentials in schooling life by sex and race and trends over time are discussed.

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