The phenomenon of patterns: gender gaps in mortality

Nadine Zielonke, Vienna Institute of Demography
Marc Luy, University of Rostock

A well-known fact in demography is the variation in the gender gap of mortality across time. Till the 1970s/1980s the mortality differences between European women and men were generally increasing in favour of women with a higher life expectancy at birth. Since then four different patterns all over Europe arose simultaneously. The first takes the form of a narrowing gender gap in life expectancy, which can be described for countries like Sweden, Germany and Austria. The second pattern of constant sex differentials (approximately between five and seven years) can be found for instance in Italy and France, an ongoing increase is symptomatic in Hungary. On the other hand there are countries e.g. of the former Russian Federation, which represent a decrease followed by a sudden increase of the gender gap since the beginning of the political and economic transition during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even if there are countries with similar patterns, we seek in revealing the inner composition of single ages and their contribution to the overall gender gap considering parameter eo. Are the four types of patterns still consistent even when we decompose with respect to single ages in single calender years until 2001? How is the excess male mortality shaped over time? Where (at which ages) does it take place? Using the Human Mortality Database ( and the mortality database of the World Health Organization ( we want to find possible explanations for the phenomenon described above by utilizing methods of survival analysis.

Presented in Poster Session 1