The Human Life-Table Database (HLD) is a collection of population life tables for a multitude of countries covering many years. Most of the HLD life tables are for national populations, which have been officially published by national statistical offices. Some of the HLD life tables refer to certain regional or ethnic sub-populations within countries. Some of the HLD life tables are non-official life tables produced by researchers. The HLD documents the evolution of human mortality by providing a quantitative life-table description of mortality patterns. The database also supplies information on calculation techniques as well as on ways of publishing mortality data used in different countries in different times. The HLD is part of the Human Mortality Database (HMD) project.

The HMD is a joint project of the Department of Demography at the University of California at Berkeley, USA and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany. The HLD was designed to supplement the HMD and provide free and user-friendly access to mortality data which, for various reasons, cannot be included in the HMD. The HMD, the primary database of the project, provides high quality continuous data series based on official and detailed population statistics which are comparable across countries and time. It contains detailed data on deaths, populations, death rates by age, year of birth, and calendar year, complete life tables, and the original raw data from which the output data are derived. The HMD is by design limited to developed countries or areas with reliable population estimates and good quality vital statistics. All data series in the HMD are continuously updated on a regular basis. The HLD, by contrast, has no strong data quality requirements and includes a broader variety of life tables, some of which might be less reliable than those published in the HMD.

The HLD provides life tables assembled from different sources: statistical and scientific publications, official reports, data collections compiled by individual researchers, and so on. Most of the tables are for national populations, but many tables cover regional or ethnic sub-populations within countries. The HLD is essentially a collection of mortality data produced by different organizations or individual researchers using different methods; thus we cannot guarantee comparability of data across time or populations. Moreover, in some cases we provide several alternative life tables for same population and year. Therefore, HLD users are advised to consider carefully which sections of the published HLD data are more appropriate for their research. We conduct only some basic checks (to exclude or correct obviously wrong data) and recalculate life table functions to provide data in a standardized and consistent format. Unlike the HMD, the HLD includes only period life tables.