Group on Longevity, Ageing and Mortality

The Group on Longevity, Ageing and Mortality (GLAM) conducts research in the three inter-related areas of mortality, longevity and population ageing.  Research on mortality focuses on several key determinants, including smoking, excess body weight, air pollution and socio-economic factors; on demographic interrelations such as migration and mortality; and on mortality at the oldest ages. As a result of past and recent  successes in reducing mortality, longevity continues to increase, presenting many challenges at the individual, family and societal levels. A particular focus of the Group is the role of social networks in meeting these challenges; a further focus is the older worker.  At the population level, research addresses structural population ageing and its implications for society and intergenerational equity, with a focus on the labour force and meeting the needs of an increasing older population. These and other issues are addressed through the Group’s extensive expertise in modelling population futures through population forecasts and projections, and dynamic microsimulation modelling.



Dr Heather Booth, Group Leader*
Dr Brian Houle
Professor Zhongwei Zhao*
* CEPAR Associate Investigator

ADSRI Adjuncts

Associate Professor Bruce Bacon
Dr Binod Nepal
Dr Yohannes Kinfu
Dr Jill Miller
Dr Sophie Pennec
Associate Professor Len Smith

ADSRI Doctoral Students

Jeofrey Abalos
Bridget Browne
Michael De Looper
Thu Cuc Hoang
Nerida Hunter
Xiaoguang Jia
Marijan Jukić
Pilar Rioseco
CEPAR Research Student

Affiliated Academics

Professor Kaarin Anstey, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, ANU
Bridget Browne, School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Applied Statistics, ANU
Dr Ching Choi, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Dr Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
Professor Rob Hyndman, Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics, Monash University 
Profesor Peter McDonald, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
Dr Han Lin Shang, School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Applied Statistics, ANU
Associate Professor Leonie Tickle, Department of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies, Macquarie University
Dr Tim Windsor, School of Psychology, Flinders University
Dr Yan Yu, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU

Workshops and events

» Innovations in Australian Mortality Research: Analysis, Models and Methods

Current projects

The Social Networks and Ageing Project (SNAP)

Heather Booth, Robert Ackland, Tim Windsor (Flinders University)

The Social Networks and Ageing Project (SNAP) examines the role of social networks in the successful ageing of older Australians. The study is concerned with patterns of online and 'offline' social networking behaviour and their influence on five outcome measures of successful ageing.
» read more

DYNOPTA-SIM: A Dynamic Microsimulation Model of Age-Related Disability

Heather Booth, Binod Nepal, Sophie Pennec, Laurie Brown (NATSEM), Richard Burns (ANU), Kaarin Anstey (ANU) et al.

DYNOPTA-SIM is the first dynamic microsimulation model of age-related disability among older Australians. The model uses data from the DYNOPTA harmonised data set to construct a base population and derive transition rates between states within 20 variables. DYNOPTA-SIM provides detailed future prevalence and incidence rates for dementia, sensory disabilities, mental health, mobility limitations and falls, as well as their risk factors. The model is also used to evaluate the impact on disabilities of modifying different risk factors. This project is part of the collaborative DYNOPTA project (see above) and involves researchers from ANU and the University of Canberra (NATSEM).

Stochastic Demographic Modelling and Forecasting

Heather Booth, Rob Hyndman (Monash University), Leonie Tickle (Macquarie University), Han Lin Shang (University of Southampton), et al

This ongoing research uses principal components models of age-sex-time-specific mortality rates and time series models to forecast mortality. The ten-year program  has produced the Booth-Maindonald-Smith variant of the Lee-Carter method, and undertaken extensive comparison of competing methods. Current research adopts a functional data approach, and focuses on new methods for coherently forecasting mortality for related populations. Stochastic population forecasts encompass forecasts of mortality, fertility and migration. Applications include population ageing.

Interdisciplinary Microsimulation Project (IMP)

Heather Booth, Zhongwei Zhao, Bruce Bacon, Mac Boot, Robert Attenborough (ANU), Francis Murphy (ANU), Sophie Pennec (Ined, France), Mike Murphy (LSE), Jim Oeppen (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)

This CASS-funded project builds capacity in dynamic microsimulation and applies it in addressing complex research questions at the interface between anthropology, demography and  economic history. Studies within GLAM include models of old-age care within the family across a range of countries, the emergence of four- and five-generation families,  the survival/demise of lineages, and the economic basis of fertility decline in 19th Century Britain.
» read more

Shanghai/China Mortality Project

Zhongwei Zhao

This is a Wellcome Trust funded research project and involved researchers from the Australian National University, University of Cambridge, Fudan University, and Shanghai Municipality Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention. The research team has computerised a large amount of mortality data collected over the period between 1956 and 2001. This project is designed to examine long-term mortality changes in Shanghai, and it particularly focuses on changes in causes of death and mortality patterns and their relationship with a number of socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors.

Hong Kong Mortality Project

Zhongwei Zhao

The project is funded by the Hong Kong government and jointly undertaken by researchers at the Australian National University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It will analyse death records collected in Hong Kong since 1976. The project is similar to the Shanghai mortality study, but it also investigates the relationship between migration and mortality.

Past projects

DYNOPTA: Learning How to Age Well from Longitudinal Studies on Ageing

Heather Booth, Yan Yu, Kaarin Anstey (ANU) et al.

This project pools data from 9 existing Australian longitudinal studies of ageing covering some 20 years of data and more than 50,000 respondents.  Analyses will inform understanding of demographic processes in later life (ages 45+), focussing on mortality and the role of smoking in changing socio-economic differentials. This project also analyses and models dementia/cognition, sensory disability, mental health, and mobility/activity limitations. This is a collaborative project involving some 20 researchers at ANU and other universities, with funding from NHMRC/ARC Ageing Well Ageing Productively.
» read more

Self-Rated Health and Social Networks

Heather Booth, Paul Mathews (London School of Economics)

This project analyses data on health and social networks from the General Social Survey 2006. The analysis focuses on the role of confidants in determining self-rated health among Australians aged 65+, also comparing them with those aged 18-64.

Age Reporting Among the Oldest-old

Heather Booth and Zhongwei Zhao

Using CLHLS data on Chinese centenarians, nonagenarians and octogenarians, novel methods have been devised for the examination of age reporting at very old ages, and further research will be undertaken into age reporting and mortality patterns at the oldest ages. Comparison with Australia will increase knowledge of Australian mortality patterns.

Determinants of Mortality Among the Oldest-old

Zhongwei Zhao and Heather Booth

This study investigates the determinants of changing major causes of death among old people in China, focussing on seasonality and environmental factors. Two major data sets are used. The first includes detailed health and mortality information of more than 10,000 people aged 80+ (including some 3,000 centenarians) collected by the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey since 1998. The second dataset consists of more than half million records of deaths at age 65+ in other East Asian populations. Plans are to expand the coverage of this analysis to include Australian data.

Educational Differences in Overweight and Obesity and Patterns of Mortality in Australia and the United States

Yan Yu

This CEPAR-funded research examines the role of factors such as excess body mass and smoking in determining mortality patterns and differentials, with a focus on the changing cause-of-death structure. This comparative research includes Australia and the US in the first instance, and will incorporate other developed countries.

Australia’s Older Population: Cohort Analysis of Demographic Change

Peter McDonald, Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi

This research project forms part of the system-wide Economic, Social and Policy Issues strand of the CEPAR research agenda. It aims to generate projections of the evolving structure of Australia’s population through the next several decades. This project aims: 1) to compile the demographic patterns of a range of socio-economic characteristics of Australia’s older population from different available databases in a single source; 2) to project a selection of the same characteristics of the Australian aged population over the thirty-year period, 2011-2041. The future characteristics of the aged population have considerable implications for policy decisions, and will also provide a database that will benefit all future-oriented CEPAR research.

Working Longer: Policy Reforms and Practice Innovations

Peter McDonald, Jeromey Temple, Ching Choi, John Piggott (University of New South Wales), Alan Woodland (University of Sydney), Philip Bohle (University of New South Wales)

This project will forecast demographic and health transition in Australia and develop capacity to analyse the likely economic and workplace adjustments that population ageing will generate. It will examine the extent to which "working longer" is an appropriate response to this transition, and analyse how the labour market for older workers might evolve, taking account of individual circumstances (health, financial status, dependent care) and institutional practices (age discrimination, employment conditions, work organization), as well as regulatory and policy impacts. This project is funded by NHMRC/ARC Ageing Well Ageing Productively.

Further information

Dr Heather Booth
T: +61 2 6125 4062

Updated:  9 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications