Sex-Specific Inequality in Adult Life Span over Time: Have Male Ages at Death Always Been More Disperse?

Sarah Zureick, University of California, Berkeley

Much research has focused on why females generally have greater life expectancy than males, but there has been less focus on why the age pattern of mortality for females is less disperse than the pattern for males. In this paper, we seek to address the latter question by documenting trends in the standard deviation of ages at death above age 10, S10, for thirty-three countries included in the Human Mortality Database. A distinctive time trend emerges across countries. Until roughly the middle of the 20th century, females generally experienced higher inequality in adult life span in comparison to males. These results suggest that the current gap between male and female variability in life span is the product of the modern epidemiological environment. Possible mechanisms for the faster decline in female S10 in comparison to male are explored using decomposition techniques.

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Presented in Poster Session 5