Sex-specific variability in adult life span over time: have male ages at death always been more dispersed?
Sarah Zureick, University of California, Berkeley
Much research has focused on why females currently enjoy greater life expectancy than males, but there has been less focus on why females currently experience lower variability of age at death. 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 countries included in the Human Mortality Database and in the WHO collection of 1,802 life tables. This analysis of time trends suggests that historically females generally experienced higher or similar levels of S10 in comparison to males. Therefore, the current gap between males and females in variability of age at death seems to be the product of the modern epidemiological environment. Possible mechanisms for the faster decline in female S10 in comparison to male and the current female advantage in S10 are investigated through a series of age and cause-specific decompositions.