Astonishing Differences in Gender Disparity in Life Expectancy between Countries
Wednesday, 07 May 2014

How much longer live women than men around the globe?

Gender disparities in life expectancy are analysed in Gaptimer Report No. 2 ‘How much longer live women than men around the globe?’ World inequalities are studied by combining two sets of statistical measures: static gap at a given point in time and gap in time for a given level of the indicator, providing a broader picture.

Firstly, it offers an innovative approach for looking at disparities over many units and over time. The new time distance measure, expressed in time units, is easy to understand by everybody and offers a novel way to compare situations in economics, politics, business and statistics. The time distance concept can influence the perception and decisions of people when they are assessing their relative position in their surroundings, in the society and across countries over time.

‘As Sicherl (1973, 1993) proposes … observed time distance is a dynamic measure of temporal disparity between the two series intuitively clear, readily measurable, and in transparent units. It is suggested that one should complement conventional measures with horizontal measures.’ (Granger and Jeon, 1997)
C.W.J. Granger and Y. Jeon, University of California at San Diego 

Secondly, the empirical results concentrate on gender disparity in life expectancy around the globe (at the world level for 196 countries and some aggregates; for EU27 countries with 269 NUTS2 regions). While female life expectancy at birth is higher than that for males for 99.5 percent of the world population, there are astonishing differences among countries. For example, Estonia occupied rank 51 the world for females and 110 for males. On the other extreme, e.g. the rank for Qatar was 65 for females and only 12 for males.

The time distance measure shows the reality with new eyes. The overall life expectancy the static difference between China and Sweden was less than 10 percent (which may appear to be small) while the S-time-distance was 51 years, (which gives a very different perception of the magnitude of the gap). For gender disparity in life expectancy S-time-distance for the world average, i.e. the horizontal time gap between trends of female and male life expectancy amounted to 20 years, 28 years for the EU27 and 35 years for the USA, showing a large and persistent gap in favour of women.