The most straightforward way to describe the survival in a sample is to compute the life table. The life table technique is one of the oldest methods for analyzing survival (failure time) data (e.g., Berkson & Gage, 1950; Cutler & Ederer, 1958; Gehan, 1969; see also Lawless, 1982, Lee, 1993). This table can be thought of as an "enhanced" frequency distribution table. The distribution of survival times is divided into a certain number of intervals. For each interval, we can compute the number and proportion of cases or objects that entered the respective interval "alive," the number and proportion of cases that failed in the respective interval (i.e., number of terminal events, or number of cases that "died"), and the number of cases that were lost or censored in the respective interval.

Based on those numbers and proportions, several additional statistics can be computed. Refer to the Survival Analysis module for additional details.