Masculinization of Old Age in Countries Across Asia

Sehar Ezdi


This paper shows that the universal female survival advantage evades several countries across Asia. Consequently, contrary to the global trend, these countries exhibit more elderly (60+,75+) men than elderly women in their populations. While substantial academic research has attempted to explain the persistence and geographical distribution of a female deficit (i.e. missing women) at young ages, an examination of this phenomenon in old age (i.e. 60+) is deficient. Using data from the United Nations, this paper is the first systematic attempt at evaluating the female deficit in the total and elderly populations in all regions and countries across Asia, both with the inclusion and exclusion of immigrants. This exercise reveals gross female deficits in the total and/or elderly populations of countries and regions neglected by literature (e.g. Bhutan in South Asia, Tajikistan in Central Asia and the Middle Eastern region of Western Asia) and emphasizes the importance of redirecting the focus of missing women literature towards the elderly age group to not only uncover a lifetime of causal mechanisms behind the female deficits but also identify possible cohort effects that may be precipitating the phenomenon.

Keywords: Elderly missing women, sex ratio


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