The survival curve is a component of the life table. The graph plots the number of survivors by age for a hypothetical cohort of 100 000 newborns who experience the 2011 age-specific death rates from the life table.
A sharp drop between two ages implies high mortality rates between these ages. For example, during the first year of life the curve drops steep due to the high infant mortality rate, compared with the following ages; it is especially visible for low-income countries. After childhood until late adulthood, the decrease is relatively more constant in these countries compared with the other groups. In contrast, the curve of the high-income countries is above all the others, starting flat, showing very low mortality rates during these years: there are over 90 000 survivors at age 60. On the other hand, the number of survivors decreases rapidly after age 60.