Volume 31 - Article 51 | Pages 1503–1524  

Divergence without decoupling: Male and female life expectancy usually co-move

By Andrew Noymer, Viola Van


Background: Divergence of male and female life expectancy is a well-documented phenomenon. Co-movement is a heretofore-neglected aspect of changes in male and female mortality.

Objective: We develop a new framework for life expectancy sex differentials in time series, using co-movement/anti-movement and convergence/divergence.

Methods: We apply this framework to the Human Mortality Database (HMD), assessing co-movement between male and female life expectancy with the nonparametric test of Goodman and Grunfeld (1961).

Results: For every country in the HMD (except three with short spans of data), male and female mortality statistically co-move. This applies even in cases, including ones such as Russia that are well-discussed in the literature, that show extreme divergence between the sexes. The results are reasonably robust to subsetting with a 25-year time-window for all countries.

Conclusions: Male and female life expectancy co-move even when the life expectancy sex differential increases. The sex divergence in life expectancy needs to be (re-)considered in light of the fact that male and female life expectancy usually co-move, reflecting overall societal factors.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy: Winter and summer pseudoseasonal life expectancy in the United States
Volume 37 - Article 45

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Two-dimensional contour decomposition: Decomposing mortality differences into initial difference and trend components by age and cause of death
Volume 50 - Article 41    | Keywords: decomposition methods, mortality

International completeness of death registration
Volume 50 - Article 38    | Keywords: data collection, death, mortality, statistics, sustainable development goals, vital registration

Incorporating subjective survival information in mortality and change in health status predictions: A Bayesian approach
Volume 50 - Article 36    | Keywords: Bayesian demography, health, mortality, self report, subjective mortality probabilities

Standardized mean age at death (MADstd): Exploring its potentials as a measure of human longevity
Volume 50 - Article 30    | Keywords: formal demography, life expectancy, mean age at death, mortality, standardization

How lifespan and life years lost equate to unity
Volume 50 - Article 24    | Keywords: life expectancy, life table entropy, life years lost, lifespan variation