Global inequality in life expectancy among women and among men, 1970-2005

Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor, World Health Organization (WHO)
Carla AbouZahr, World Health Organization (WHO)
Colin Douglas Mathers, World Health Organization (WHO)
Sam Harper, McGill University
John Lynch, University of South Australia

We studied the trend of the global inequality in life expectancy for females and males over time and identified the contribution of different WHO regions to that inequality. Our comparator was the highest attained life expectancy by sex at each point in time for seven five-year periods ( 1970-75 to 2000-2005). Global inequality in life expectancy was systematically higher in women than in men in both absolute and relative terms. Absolute inequality among women decreased during the decade 1970-80, stagnated during 1980-1995, and has risen subsequently to reach 15.5 years during 2000-05. Absolute inequality in men fell steadily until 2000 but role subsequently to reach nearly 14 years. The largest contributions to higher global inequality among women than men were from the WHO regions for South-East Asia, the Western Pacific and Africa. Africa contributed to the overall stagnation or increase in global inequality in women after 1985-90.

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Presented in Session 56: Gender inequality, in death as in life?