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The Australian National University

Professor Heather Booth

BSc(Econ) (London), MSc (Southampton), PhD (London)
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Demography 1603
  • Mortality 160304
  • Stochastic Analysis And Modelling 010406
  • Population Trends And Policies 160305
  • Social Change 160805
  • Family And Household Studies 160301
  • Pacific Peoples Health 111715

Research interests


Heather’s research is situated in the DEMOGRAPHY OF AGEING. This includes:

- The future of structural population ageing through dynamic stochastic modelling. Heather is an international expert in stochastic modelling and forecasting of demographic rates and populations.

- The role of social networks with family and friends in the well-being of older people, and the socio-demography of ageing and longevity.

- Socio-demographic determinants of self-rated health and well-being at older ages.

- Socio-demographic determinants of Internet use for social networking among older people.

- Understanding mortality patterns and transitions through modelling and decomposition.

- The future of longevity and mortality at very old ages, and its implications.

- Microsimulation modelling of family structures: ageing in context.


Heather Booth is Professor and Director of Research in the School of Demography in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, and leads the Group on Longevity, Ageing and Mortality (GLAM). She has over 30 years' experience in demographic research in both developed and developing countries. Her more recent work focusses on mortality modelling and forecasting, population ageing, and the socio-demography of longevity.

Heather is an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research and an Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford. Heather was Founding Editor of the Journal of Population Research (JPR) from 2000 to 2006.

Heather began her career at the London School of Economics before moving to the USA to join the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her doctoral research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Heather developed the Booth Standard for use with the Brass Relational Gompertz Model of fertility. She then undertook research on ethnic minority populations in Britain and Western Europe. In 1984, Heather relocated to Nouméa, New Caledonia, to take up a position as demographer with the South Pacific Commission, working throughout the Pacific Islands. She has also worked as an international consultant with the UN and other funding agencies.


Researcher's projects

Heather leads the Social Networks and Ageing Project (SNAP) funded under an ARC Linkage grant (2010-2012).

Heather is a Chief Investigator on the $2million NHMRC/ARC Dynamic Analyses to Optimise Ageing (DYNOPTA) project (2007-2012) and leads the development of the DYNOPTA microsimulation model of the future of age-related disability in Australia (DYNOPTA-SIM).

Heather is Associate Investigator in an ANU node of the $12.7million ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) coordinated by UNSW (2011-2017).

Heather jointly led (with Zhongwei Zhao) the Interdisciplinary Microsimulation Project (IMP) (2011-2014) funded by the CASS Interdisciplinary Research Fund.

Heather coordinates ongoing collaborative research in demographic forecasting with colleagues at Monash University, Macquarie University, the University of Southampton and the Paris-based Institut national d'etudes demographiques. This highly cost-effective research uses publicly available data. Several small grants have facilitated this collaborative research over the last twelve-years.

Heather leads the School of Demography Group on Longevity, Ageing and Mortality (GLAM).

Current student projects

Two doctoral research projects are funded under the Social Networks and Ageing Project:

- The role of social connectedness in the retirement process

- Methods for social network analysis

Other current doctoral student projects include:

- Modelling Long Term Care in Australia: What Place of Insurance?

- Healthy Life Expectancy in the Philippines

- Agent-based modelling of the decision to enter residential aged care

- Ageing in Australia

- Cybernetics in demography

Past student projects

Gender, ethnicity and wellbeing of the elderly in Indonesia

Cardio-vascular mortality in Chinese cities

The experiences and pathways of discontinuing school children in Fiji

Australian mortality in the 19th and early 20th centuries

Modes of aged care Vietnam: adaptation to change


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  14 December 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers