Will the Gender Gap in Mortality Continue to Narrow?

France Meslé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

During the 20th century, female mortality decreased dramatically, more rapidly than male mortality. Consequently, life expectancy gap between men and women widened considerably. The reasons for the female lead have been largely discussed: biological advantage, behaviours more conducive to health, easier relationship with medicine. However, for three decades, this advantage has started reducing, first in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic countries, more recently in Southern Europe. Men are steadily catching up women thanks to a rapid decrease in cardiovascular mortality and the reversal of cancer trends, especially lung cancer. The future trend of the life expectancy gap between sexes is now more and more depending on mortality at old ages (over age 65, and even over age 80). The aim of this paper is to investigate the recent developments of gender mortality differentials in low-mortality countries at age 65+, comparing specific countries through a precise cause-of-death analysis.

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Presented in Session 184: Gender Health Disparities