Research indicates that mortality rates are lower among the religious. Israeli ultra-orthodox Jews, called Haredim, have characteristics distinguishing them from the rest of the Jewish population in Israel. These include lower socioeconomic status, higher fertility rates and rates of young marriage, and isolation from the general population. Our retrospective cohort study aims to determine the difference in mortality rates between Haredi and non-Haredi Jews in Israel. We collected data on sociodemographic variables, religious lifestyle, and all-cause mortality for 1,230,636 Jewish Israelis (62,674 Haredim) between 1996 and 2016. Using Cox regression and adjusted Kaplan-Meier curves, we constructed models to evaluate the relationship between identifying as Haredi and mortality. The mortality rate was significantly lower among the Haredi population compared to the non-Haredi population (5.0 percent vs. 8.2 percent). After adjusting for sex, age, marital status, number of children, education, and socioeconomic status, we still found a higher mortality rate among non-Haredim compared to Haredim (HR = 1.596; 99 percent CI = 1.519, 1.678). While causal mechanisms could not be analyzed in this study, a likely cause is increased social, psychological, and religious resources, highlighting the need to consider factors other than socioeconomic status when studying religious and other groups with other forms of capital.
- social determinants of health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies