Trends in the Arab-Jewish Life Expectancy Gap in Israel, 1975-2008

Ameed Saabneh, University of Pennsylvania

In spite of significant gains in life expectancy at birth (e0) that both Arabs and Jews in Israel have experienced throughout the last 40 years, a gap ranging between 3 to 4 years has persisted between the two groups. Using decomposition methods, this paper estimates the contribution of specific age groups and causes of death to the total Arab-Jewish gap during 1970-08. The results show that the trend of the total gap reflects two opposing processes. During 1970-80, modest declines in the total gap were driven by converging infant and child mortality rates. Thereafter, growing inequalities in older-age mortality resulted in widening the gap. Cancer mortality which was a major suppressor of the total Arab-Jewish gap for both sexes has recently turned to a small positive contributor. Faster increase in diabetes mortality rates among the Arab minority also positively contributed to enlarging the gap.

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Presented in Poster Session 7