Beyond material explanations: Family solidarity and mortality, a small area-level analysis

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Social solidarity, being embedded in a network of binding social relationships, tends to extend 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. This article considers whether these trends in family life may have slowed the rise in life expectancy. I present a cross-sectional analysis of Israeli statistical areas (SAs), for which I construct indexes of Standard of Living (SOL), Traditional Family Structure (TFS), and Religiosity (R). I show that (1) increases in all three of these indexes are associated with lower levels of mortality, (2) male mortality is more sensitive to differences in SOL and TFS than is female mortality, and (3) net of differences in SOL and TFS, there is no difference in the mortality levels of Arab and Jewish populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalPopulation and Development Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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