The Gender Gap in Life Expectancy in South Africa from 2000 to 2015: The Role of Age- and Cause-Specific Mortality

Sally Sonia Simmons


In the last two decades, South Africa has experienced a marginal increase in life expectancy due to high mortality burden. It coincides with variations in age- and cause-specific mortality among females and males. The study aimed at quantifying the role of age- and cause-specific mortality to the gender gap in life expectancy in South Africa from 2000 to 2015. The study measured the trends in cause-specific mortality and contributions of each cause to life expectancy among South African males and females. Andreev’s decomposition method was applied to decompose the contributions of age- and cause-specific mortality to the gender gap in life expectancy. The study revealed that recorded gender gap in life expectancy concentrated in the age group 15-34 was as a result of the differences in the contributions of the infectious diseases and external causes of mortality. In the elderly years, the gap in life expectancy among males and females were due to the variations in the contributions of mortality from circulatory and respiratory diseases. Given these, health policies and programs should target infectious diseases and external causes of death in the young adult years, the leading causes of mortality and circulatory and respiratory diseases, emerging major causes of mortality in the elderly years in South Africa


Life expectancy; cause-specific; diseases; mortality; South Africa.

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