Determinants of sex differentials in mortality: an assessment of household-level factors in South Africa

Pierre Dindi, Nicole De Wet


Background: Increasingly high male mortality hinders progress towards improving overall life expectancy.

Data Source & Method: The study used data from South Africa’s 2016 Community Survey to examine the household-level determinants of male mortality. Chi square tests and binary logistic regression were used.

Results: Out of the 30,022 deaths in the sample, males comprised 52.8%. Male deaths were high at all ages except for age group 75+ years. Odds of male mortality were higher (OR:2.08; CI:1.98-2.18) among those that lived in female headed households or White-headed households (OR:1.50;CI:1.29-1.73). There was less likelihood of male deaths (OR:0.91;CI:0.87-0.97) in households that were not involved in agriculture.

Conclusion: Overall, mortality differentials were largely explained by household demographics including age, race and gender dynamics of heads of households. We recommend a multi-sectoral policy and programme implementation that promotes deliberate inclusiveness of household characteristics in their delivery.


South Africa, mortality, longevity, logistic regression, households

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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