Gender imbalances in selected countries

In the United States, most people know that women outnumber men by a small portion. But this pattern is not the same throughout the world. As part of a project for a class in my Ph.D. program, I created these charts from World Health Organization (WHO) mortality database data showing the gender imbalance in the population over time and by age group. The values in the graphs on the left are calculated by subtracting the number of males in each age group from the respective number of females. The graphs on the right show females in each age group as a percentage of the entire population.

Negative values (below the zero line) in the charts on the left indicate age groups where males outnumber females. Pronounced gender imbalances obviously suggest conditions that disproportionately impact the outnumbered gender, but in the absence of a compelling explanation, spikes in the data should probably be discounted. In the Netherlands and Sweden, it appears common for males to outnumber females until their mid-50s. In the United States, females generally outnumber males especially in older age groups, but the trend appears to be for them increasingly to lose their advantage over men, with men beginning to outnumber women at increasingly older age groups. And in the Philippines and in Thailand, males generally outnumber females, even at the youngest age groups.

I selected two Nordic countries and two southeast Asian countries on a suggestion from my professor who would like me to consider the issue of crimes against women as part of an evaluation of health systems in relatively partnership-oriented (Nordic) societies versus relatively dominator-oriented (southeast Asian) societies. I threw in the U.S., well, just because. I had hoped to evaluate causes of death, and though this appears to be impractical, my only other criteria in selecting these countries was that the WHO mortality database included ICD-10 (the latest) coded data for them, suggesting that they have competent and modern reporting mechanisms. In some cases, however, population data cuts off in the mid-1990s. I don’t know why.

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