Opportunity Health Center | Research

Exploring 100 Ways Canadian Men Die Differently (and mostly faster) than Women

Updated:  January 16, 2018

New research shows Canadians are living longer than ever. With an average life expectancy of 82.2 years, Canada now ranks 12th in the world.

Sadly for men, Canadian women live an average of 3.9 years longer. This means a life expectancy of 80.2 years for men, and 84.1 years for women.

Longer lifespans for women are one of the reasons that when it comes to the end of life, Canadian men and women often die of different causes. Recently, researchers at Opportunity Health mined 23 years of data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to tease out exactly what these differences are.

How Canadian Men and Women Die Differently

Because women simply live longer, they are much more likely to die of diseases of old age, including stroke and Alzheimer’s.

In addition to lifespan, other major contributing factors to the difference in death rates include biology. For example, while men technically have breast tissue-and a handful of men die each year from breast cancer-this is predominantly a disease that afflicts women.

Lifestyle factors also contribute. Men are much more likely to die of suicide, road injuries, and lung cancers-all of which have a behavior based component.

Here are the top 100 causes of death, ranked in order for Canadian women (the list for men is slightly different.) Each column compares the relative difference between the sexes for each cause of death.

Cause of DeathWomen%Men%Difference
1. Ischemic heart disease19.3519.250.49%
2. Alzheimer disease and other dementias12.109.3928.90%
3. Stroke (Cerebrovascular disease)7.874.9459.23%
4. Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer6.498.89-26.98%
5. Breast cancer4.300.049788.84%
6. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease4.304.94-13.11%
7. Colon and rectum cancer3.613.91-7.79%
8. Lower respiratory infections3.482.8820.94%
9. Diabetes mellitus2.962.99-1.18%
10. Chronic kidney disease2.092.004.42%
11. Falls2.081.6327.55%
12. Pancreatic cancer1.841.754.67%
13. Other cardiovascular and circulatory diseases1.441.0932.23%
14. Ovarian cancer1.430.00
15. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma1.181.44-17.89%
16. Atrial fibrillation and flutter1.170.7066.06%
17. Other neoplasms1.131.065.93%
18. Stomach cancer0.921.31-29.96%
19. Leukemia0.841.15-27.46%
20. Self-harm0.792.38-66.82%
21. Endocrine, metabolic, blood, and immune disorders0.770.770.48%
22. Aortic aneurysm0.760.92-17.38%
23. Urinary diseases and male infertility0.760.4859.51%
24. Road injuries0.731.43-48.92%
25. Interstitial lung disease and pulmonary sarcoidosis0.720.96-24.73%
26. Parkinson disease0.700.96-27.62%
27. Cirrhosis due to hepatitis C0.650.84-22.81%
28. Brain and nervous system cancer0.610.86-28.78%
29. Other digestive diseases0.570.3184.09%
30. Other neurological disorders0.560.69-18.82%
31. Uterine cancer0.550.00
32. Vascular intestinal disorders0.550.3368.00%
33. Multiple myeloma0.540.63-14.02%
34. Paralytic ileus and intestinal obstruction0.510.3260.91%
35. Liver cancer0.490.80-38.46%
36. Hypertensive heart disease0.470.2777.36%
37. Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis0.460.65-28.16%
38. Cervical cancer0.460.00
39. Diarrheal diseases0.440.2858.62%
40. Foreign body0.440.432.54%
41. Bladder cancer0.431.03-58.05%
42. Kidney cancer0.420.86-50.79%
43. Gallbladder and biliary tract cancer0.410.2197.28%
44. Congenital anomalies0.380.41-6.24%
45. Other musculoskeletal disorders0.360.17108.64%
46. Peripheral vascular disease0.360.2732.99%
47. Cirrhosis due to alcohol use0.350.82-57.83%
48. Esophageal cancer0.320.98-67.81%
49. Malignant skin melanoma0.300.49-38.31%
50. Drug use disorders0.300.59-49.71%
51. Rheumatic heart disease0.280.12132.96%
52. Multiple sclerosis0.260.1665.83%
53. Gallbladder and biliary diseases0.260.2027.46%
54. Peptic ulcer disease0.250.2122.27%
55. Inflammatory bowel disease0.230.1382.67%
56. Iron-deficiency anemia0.220.08174.37%
57. Adverse effects of medical treatment0.210.1817.11%
58. Lip and oral cavity cancer0.200.37-46.36%
59. Rheumatoid arthritis0.190.06214.55%
60. Skin and subcutaneous diseases0.180.1250.30%
61. Asthma0.160.07132.42%
62. Pancreatitis0.160.17-2.35%
63. Alcohol use disorders0.150.48-69.30%
64. Preterm birth complications0.140.19-24.81%
65. Cirrhosis due to hepatitis B0.140.1125.71%
66. Endocarditis0.130.14-6.17%
67. Protein-energy malnutrition0.120.1017.88%
68. Fire, heat, and hot substances0.120.15-18.62%
69. Other infectious diseases0.120.120.63%
70. Non-melanoma skin cancer0.110.17-36.32%
71. Epilepsy0.110.12-13.46%
72. Interpersonal violence0.080.27-70.23%
73. Thyroid cancer0.080.0640.90%
74. Neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma0.070.08-10.27%
75. Other neonatal disorders0.070.09-22.16%
76. Mesothelioma0.070.30-76.64%
77. Hemoglobinopathies and hemolytic anemias0.070.0612.56%
78. Inguinal, femoral, and abdominal hernia0.070.0618.64%
79. Larynx cancer0.060.28-76.94%
80. Other pharynx cancer0.060.24-72.72%
81. Cirrhosis due to other causes0.060.068.40%
82. Drowning0.050.23-76.96%
83. Schizophrenia0.050.0357.83%
84. Tuberculosis0.050.06-11.97%
85. Hodgkin lymphoma0.050.06-22.27%
86. Exposure to mechanical forces0.040.18-75.84%
87. Meningitis0.040.05-4.51%
88. Sudden infant death syndrome0.040.06-27.59%
89. Poisonings0.040.06-26.85%
90. Other chronic respiratory diseases0.040.05-11.72%
91. Nasopharynx cancer0.040.08-48.51%
92. HIV/AIDS0.040.19-78.69%
93. Gastritis and duodenitis0.030.0310.91%
94. Hepatitis0.030.05-39.05%
95. Other transport injuries0.030.19-84.33%
96. Appendicitis0.030.0213.46%
97. Encephalitis0.030.03-9.63%
98. Other nutritional deficiencies0.020.03-5.10%
99. Neonatal sepsis and other neonatal infections0.010.02-31.54%
100. Other unintentional injuries0.010.04-61.48%

If you’re as fascinated as we are by these numbers, check out these charts showing more detail about how Canadians die differently.

The study will be run again next year to look for further changes.