Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Fellow Host: Lee Fiorio

Unequal mortality at older ages: early results from a new, Big Data set

Josh Goldstein, Department of Demography, UC Berkeley

12:30-1:30 PM PT
121 Raitt Hall

I will discuss early analysis of a newly created, very large public data set on old-age, individual mortality in the United States. By linking individual records from the 1940 census and Social Security Administration deaths, we have built a new, data set that allows the study of detailed covariates on a sample of millions of people. I will explain how the data set was created, some special methods needed to estimate mortality, and preliminary results on trends in educational, income, and racial disparities in mortality at ages 65+.

Josh Goldstein is a Demographer. His research interests include fertility, marriage, social demography, historical demography, population aging, and formal demography. Prof. Goldstein’s publications include “How 4.5 Million Irish Immigrants Became 40 Million Irish Americans: Demographic and Subjective Aspects of Ethnic Composition of White Americans,” “Marriage Delayed or Marriage Foregone? New Cohort Forecasts of First Marriage for U.S. Women,” and “The End of ‘Lowest-Low’ Fertility?” Goldstein received his M.A. (D.E.A.) in Demography and Social Sciences at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and his Ph.D in Demography from Berkeley. Before returning to Berkeley’s Demography Department in 2013, Goldstein held positions as Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. Goldstein’s recent research includes a new interest in big data and naming patterns, particularly what first naming patterns can reveal about fertility intentions and how the choice of first names influences life chances.

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Generally speaking, Lee’s research interests are organized along three interlocking themes. Firstly, he is devoted to the study of flows of people at any geographic or temporal scale. This includes international migration, internal migration, intra-urban residential mobility, and everyday commuting. When adequately identified and measured, flows add rich complexity to social science research by tying together groups of people across places and times. As such, flows offer a unique window into the historical contingencies and possible trajectories of dynamic social processes. Secondly, he is committed to the study of inequality between groups of people. His work aims to identify the ways in which the flows of groups are both caused by and a cause of differences in socioeconomic status. In particular, he is interested in racial and ethnic residential segregation, spatial stratification by income, and the impacts of geography on health and access to goods and services. Thirdly, he is dedicated to the study of relationality. As people move through space, their relations to one another change. Moreover, groups of people can be defined by the moves they make (e.g. immigrants) or by the moves they arguably cannot make (e.g. inner-city poor). From a methodological and theoretical standpoint, it is vital to strive for an understanding of how parts in a system relate to a whole, and to acknowledge that the categories used to define groups are not fixed with respect to time or space.