Life expectancy gap between the Francophone majority and Anglophone minority of a Canadian population


Language is an important determinant of health, but analyses of linguistic inequalities in mortality are scant, especially for Canadian linguistic groups with European roots. We evaluated the life expectancy gap between the Francophone majority and Anglophone minority of Québec, Canada, both over time and across major provincial areas. Arriaga’s method was used to estimate the age and cause of death groups contributing to changes in the life expectancy gap at birth between 1989-1993 and 2002-2006, and to evaluate patterns across major provincial areas (metropolitan Montréal, other metropolitan centres, and small cities/rural areas). Life expectancy at birth was greater for Anglophones, but the gap decreased over time by 1.3 years (52% decline) in men and 0.9 years (47% decline) in women, due to relatively sharper reductions in Francophone mortality from several causes, except lung cancer which countered reductions in women. The life expectancy gap in 2002-2006 was widest in other metropolitan centres (men 5.1 years, women 3.2 years), narrowest in small cities/rural areas (men 0.8 years, women 0.7 years), and tobacco-related causes were the main contributors. Only young Anglophones <40 years in small cities/rural areas had mortality higher than Francophones, resulting in a narrower gap in these areas. Differentials in life expectancy favouring Anglophones decreased over time, but varied across areas of Québec. Tobacco-related causes accounted for the majority of the current life expectancy gap.

Eur J Epidemiol
Sam Harper
Sam Harper
Associate Professor of Epidemiology

My research interests include impact evaluation, reproducible research, and social epidemiology.