Lifespan disparity by leading causes of death in Canada and the U.S. from 1975 to 2011

Viorela Diaconu, Université de Montréal
Nadine Ouellette, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Carlo G. Camarda, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Robert R. Bourbeau, Université de Montréal

A vast body of existing literature has examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and lifespan variation. However, analyses along a cause-of-death dimension are quite scarce. In this paper, we examine lifespan variation trends over the 1975-2011 period for five leading causes of death in Canada and the U.S. Using flexible P-splines adapted to the context of cause-of-death analysis, we estimate smooth cause-specific age-at-death distributions and subsequently derive the modal age at death (M). Because the spread in ages at death differs greatly by cause, lifespan distributions must therefore be compared on a similar time scale. We thus rescale the smoothed distributions according to their corresponding M. Preliminary results for Canada and the U.S. show that the five leading causes differ greatly not only in terms of relative lifespan variation trends but also in terms of levels. Moreover, gaps in levels between causes are more pronounced for females than for males.

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Presented in Session 82: Lifespan disparity and longevity