Fascinating Death Demographic Data

There are some fascinating death-related factoids in a new release from Statistics Canada.

  • Life expectancy in Canada has surpassed 80 years for the first time ever.
  • The male-female life expectancy gap continues to shrink, with it having almost halved in the last 25 years.
  • The death increase rate in Canada is among the smallest in the last 25 years. Deaths were up only 0.2% in 2004 from 2003, with the number of men dying actually declining year-over-year.
  • The death sex ratio recently fell below the birth sex ratio for the first time ever. “For every 100 female deaths in 2004, there were 102 male deaths. This sex ratio in 2004 was the smallest during the past quarter-century, and was well below the ratio of 135 in 1979. At birth, boys still outnumber girls by a ratio of about 106 to 100 in Canada.”

Overall, it’s easy to avert your eyes at this sort of thing, but there are major longevity-related demographic trends being shown here. While looking away from these statistics is understandable, it’s also an unfortunate human instinct. We are living longer, there are more males around, and death rates are declining. Fascinating (and not to be crass, but investable) stuff.


  1. This is very interesting. What jumps out to me is this: “At birth, boys still outnumber girls by a ratio of about 106 to 100 in Canada.”
    If I understand how the DNA works, over a large population the proportions should be absolutely even at 50% each. Why aren’t they? Is some sort of mutation now causing fewer girls to be conceived?
    More likely, the difference has to do with prenatal gender testing, and the tendency of parents to abort girls at a higher rate than boys. This has been the case in China and India for years. Looks like it may be true in the West as well.

  2. Patrick – No, the real-world process is a bit more complex than basic theory (which is very much right, but not perfect), so the ratio turns out to be not absolutely even. You can tell it can’t be due to just abortion, since the ratio difference holds true in other animals.

  3. Bill McDonald says:

    The birth ratio of males to females for humans has been about 102 – 106 to 100 for hundreds of years and in different countries. Generally, more boys are born, but more girls would tend to survive to puberty and beyond, so that elderly populations are heavily female.
    Your genetic / DNA idea is correct, but other factors then tend to shift the ratio away from 50:50.
    Male sperm moved faster than female sperm, and this was thought to be a major reason for the higher numbers of males. Now, additional factors, such as the egg showing a preference for certain sperm, are believed to influence the ratios. Animal field studies have show some animals will change the birth ratio in response to environmental stress.
    Besides China and India, a number of Arab countries appear to have skewed birth rates.
    In addition to selective abortion, selective infanticide has been practiced in China.