This study describes the recent changes in life expectancy in Canada and examine what the trends are between provinces and sexes. To do this, provincial life expectancy estimates derived by Statistics Canada from 1921 to 1997 were compared. In Canada, life expectancy continues to increase at a steady pace. The difference between the highest and lowest provincial life expectancy decreased from 10.8 years to 1.4 years between 1926 and 1986. This trend appears to be reversing and data suggest that by 1997 the range was 2.3 years. The other notable trend is the narrowing of the gender difference since the early 1980s a reverse in the trend from the previous century or more. Nevertheless there is still a 5.6 year life expectancy difference between the genders in 1997. Further research is required to understand how health differs between provinces, why the differences are occurring, and what should be done to ensure equitable health across the country.
View full text