Life Expectancy Gaps between Jews and Palestinians in Israel: Revealing Racial and Regional Mortality Inequalities

Ameed Saabneh , University of Haifa

This paper examines trends in life expectancy (LE) gap between Palestinians and Jews in Israel during 1990-2015, using the method of contour decomposition. We first compare between the entire Palestinian and Jewish populations. Given nearly complete spatial and residential segregation between the two populations, we then limit the comparison to regions shared by both Palestinians and Jews. The results reveal, first, that over 70% of the 2015 LE gap (where Jews have 2-3 years higher LE) is contributed by old-age mortality. Second, the racial gap in the shared regions is smaller than that in the entire population, indicating two types of spatial inequalities: Jews in the shared regions have lower LE than those in the pure Jewish regions, and, within the shared regions, Palestinians have lower LE than Jews. In conclusion, mortality patterns in Israel reveal a racial-spatial hierarchy, invoking explanations derived from theories of racial/ethnic and spatial health inequalities.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality