BSc(Econ) (LSE); MSc (Southampton); PhD (London)



Demography
2021

Heather Booth is a demographer with broad-ranging international experience. Since joining the Australian National University in the 1990s, she has devoted her attention to the analysis, modelling and forecasting of mortality, longevity and ageing.

Heather has contributed important innovations to statistical methods for forecasting mortality, achieving significantly improved forecast accuracy and reliability. These methods are widely used in research and actuarial practice. This research, which also extends to fertility, migration and population forecasting, has influenced the methods used in official projections of the Australian population. Additionally, Heather pioneered the comparative evaluation of mortality forecasting methods and has contributed to further extensive and systematic evaluations, identifying pathways for further methods development.

Heather has also contributed to in-depth analyses of Australian mortality trends and differentials, including exposition of the epidemiologic transition over the last century and decompositions of temporal change, sex differentials and changing sex differentials in life expectancy. She has contributed to new findings showing substantial socio-economic inequality in Australian adult mortality and life expectancy, based on newly available linked data. Further investigation of mortality inequality, based on more comprehensive areal data, points to the importance of family cohesion in equal measure to socio-economic factors, as well as to the heavy disadvantage of Indigenous communities over and above these factors.

Research on the older Australian population highlights the role of social networks on health, again pointing to social cohesion as a positive influence. A study of homophily in the non-kin networks of older Australians shows that having friends similar to oneself has a positive influence on self-rated health.

In her early career in the UK and US, Heather worked on the indirect estimation of demographic measures for developing countries and constructed what became known as the Booth Standard for use in fertility modelling and estimation. After studying the demography of ethnic populations in Britain and Western Europe, she moved to the South Pacific to work with Pacific Island governments in a demographic advisory and training capacity and later with international agencies as an independent consultant.

Australian National University 1998-2020

  1. Booth, Heather (2020) Coherent mortality forecasting with standards: low mortality serves as a guide. Ch. 8 in Stefano Mazzuco and Nico Keilman (eds) Developments in Demographic Forecasting. Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-42472-5
  2. Hyndman, Rob, Heather Booth and Farah Yasmeen (2013) Coherent mortality forecasting: the product-ratio method with functional time series models. Demography, 50(1), pp.261-283.
  3. Booth, Heather (2018) The process of population ageing and its challenges in Asia, Ch. 23 in Zhongwei Zhao and Adrian Hayes (eds) Routledge Handbook of Asian Demography. London: Routledge.
  4. Jennifer Welsh, Karen Bishop, Heather Booth, Danielle Butler, Michelle Gourley, Hsei-Di Law, Emily Banks, Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Rosemary J Korda. (2021) Inequalities in life expectancy in Australia according to education level: A whole-of-population record linkage study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 20(178). doi: 10.1186/s12939-021-01513-3 
  5. Cui, Qi, Vladimir Canudas-Romo and Heather Booth (2019) The mechanism underlying change in the sex gap in life expectancy at birth: an extended decomposition. Demography 56(6), pp. 2307-2321. Online 20 November 2019. doi: 10.1007/s13524-019-00832-z