Beyond material explanations: fertility decline and mortality, a small area-level analysis of Israeli data

Jon Anson, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Social solidarity, being embedded in a network of binding social relationships, significantly extends human longevity. Yet while average incomes in the western world, and with them, life expectancies, have risen dramatically, the Second Demographic Transition has occasioned a breakdown in traditional family forms. In the present work we consider whether these trends in family life may not have held back the rise in life expectancy. We present a cross-sectional analysis of Israel statistical areas (SAs), for which we build indices of Standard of Living (SOL), Traditional Family Structure (TFS) and Religiosity (R). We show that (i) increases in all three of these indices are associated with lower level of mortality; (ii) male mortality is more sensitive to differences in SOL than female mortality, and (iii) net of differences in SOL and TFS, there is no difference in the mortality levels of Arab and Jewish populations.

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Presented in Session 93: Environmental effects on health and mortality