Sex differential in life expectancy in Canada, 1921-2004: provincial variations

Ramana Zanfongnon, Université de Montréal
Robert R. Bourbeau, Université de Montréal

Since the beginning of the 20th century, mortality has substantially declined in most countries. However, this decline has been quite different between females and males. In Canada, sex differential in life expectancy at birth was about two years at the beginning of the century and reached more than seven years at the end of the 70’s. Since then, the female advantage has been reducing meaning that the nation witnessed a narrowing of this differential. Using a decomposition analysis of sex differences in life expectancy at birth our results demonstrated that the main reason for this major change in the evolution of life expectancy at birth difference is reducing male mortality among age 55 to 74 especially from ischemic heart disease. The situation is similar in all Canadian provinces. However, their situation was quite heterogeneous at the beginning of the century but tend to converge nowadays. The reducing sex differential in life expectancy at birth is not specific to Canada and can be observed in most developed countries. However, this situation does not reflect a deterioration of women’s health but evidently an acceleration of men’s health progress. Key words : differential, life expectancy at birth, sex, Canada, provinces, mortality, causes of death

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Presented in Session 97: Geography of Mortality