New article in Population, Space and Place: Persistent regional inequalities in mortality in Finland and Sweden

“Regional trajectories in life expectancy and lifespan variation: Persistent inequality in two Nordic welfare states” published in PSP (with SUDA researchers Ben Wilson, Sven Drefahl, Paul Henery, and Caroline Uggla).

Key finding: In both Finland and Sweden, life expectancy increased and lifespan inequality decreased in all regions between 1990 and 2014. However, differences in life expectancy and lifespan inequality between regions have remained stable, in each country, during this period.

Figure 5. The regional dynamics of life expectancy at birth (e0) and lifespan variation (G0) in 1990 and 2014, Finland and Sweden.

New article in Middle Eastern Studies

My first foray into historical sociology published in Middle Eastern Studies (with Ronen Shamir). Our study traces the politics of census-making in British-ruled Palestine surrounding the question of Arab landlessness. Based on archival work, we demonstrate how Jewish statistical expertise and British adherence to their colonial experience in India allowed them to shape the 1931 Census of Palestine, and the type of data it would collect, without appearing political.

Abba Ahimeir, member of the Zionist Revisionist Movement, standing next to wall graffiti urging Jews not to participate in the census. November 1931, unknown photographer, Jabotinsky Institute in Israel.

Workshop on Inequalities in Health, Longevity and Aging

I am pleased to announce the 2nd Tel Aviv Workshop on Inequalities in Health, Longevity, and Aging. The workshop is organized in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics at the University of Southern Denmark and the Herczeg Institute on Aging. The international seminar and workshop will be held at Tel Aviv University on 5-7 May, 2020. For additional information see the call for papers.

*** Update: The workshop has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Forecasting Israeli mortality and life expectancy in 2065 (research report for Bituah Leumi)

Long-term mortality forecasts are critical for government planning and welfare provision, because life expectancy has direct implications for health expenditure and old-age state pensions, among other factors. Yet, forecasting Israeli life expectancy has proven especially challenging for several reasons.

First, while Israel’s life expectancy at birth is one of the highest in the world, its historical mortality record is rather short compared to other countries. When data are scarce demographers often turn to similar countries, learn from their past experience, and apply a model to the country with limited data (that is, in very broad terms, the approach adopted by the UN Population Division). But Israel has only a handful of countries to learn from–such as Japan, Italy, and Switzerland–and even in those cases we can, at best, hope to gain insight a mere decade or two into the future.

Second, Israel’s population is composed of several social groups with unique characteristics and mortality profiles. Population heterogeneity makes forecasting difficult, because forecasting for the population as a whole overlooks important components of change (and is therefore less accurate). On the other hand, forecasting for each social group separately results in divergent forecasts in the long run, which do not conform to the national trend.

For these reasons, among others, previous mortality forecasts for Israel have often missed the target, either underestimating or overestimating life expectancy at birth. In a research report prepared for Bituah Leumi (National Insurance Institute of Israel), I review past mortality forecasts and why they have been unsuccessful, compare alternative models for forecasting mortality, and produce my own forecast for Israeli life expectancy in 2065.