The rise and fall of women's advantage: a comparison of national trends in life expectancy at age 65 years
2013 (English)In: European Journal of Ageing, ISSN 1613-9372, Vol. 10, no 4, 271-277 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The female advantage in life expectancy (LE) is found worldwide, despite differences in living conditions, the status of women and other factors. However, this advantage has decreased in recent years in low-mortality countries. Few researchers have looked at the gender gap in LE in old age (age 65) in a longer historical perspective. Have women always had an advantage in LE at old age and do different countries share the same trends? Life expectancy data for 17 countries were assessed from Human Mortality Database from 1751 to 2007. Since most of the changes in LE taking place today are driven by reductions of old age mortality the gender difference in LE was calculated at age 65. Most low-mortality countries show the same historical trend, a rise and fall of women's advantage in LE at age 65. Three phases that all but two countries passed through were discerned. After a long phase with a female advantage in LE at 65 of <1 year, the gender gap increased significantly during the twentieth century. The increase occurred in all countries but at different time points. Some countries such as England and France had an early rise in female advantage (1900-1919), while it occurred 50 years later in Sweden, Norway and in the Netherlands. The rise was followed by a more simultaneous fall in female advantage in the studied countries towards the end of the century, with exceptions of Japan and Spain. The different timing regarding the increase of women's advantage indicates that country-specific factors may have driven the rise in female advantage, while factors shared by all countries may underlie the simultaneous fall. More comprehensive, multi-disciplinary study of the evolution of the gender gap in old age could provide new hypotheses concerning the determinants of gendered differences in mortality.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 10, no 4, 271-277 p.
Life expectancy, Gender differences, Longevity, Old age, Gender gap
Geriatrics Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98283DOI: 10.1007/s10433-013-0274-8ISI: 000328083100002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-98283DiVA: diva2:684439