Missing Men: The Direct Mortality Impacts of Firearm Violence in Colombia, 1979-2005
Brodie Ferguson, Stanford University
Jorge A Restrepo, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá
James H. Jones, Stanford University
Colombia has been characterized by civil violence throughout much of the twentieth century, and the burden of excess mortality attributable to this violence has been borne by young men. Using sex-specific census and vital registration data for the period 1979-2005 and a multiple-decrement life table approach, we quantify the impact of firearm violence on differential male mortality. Colombia shows higher mortality rates in men than women at most ages; in certain departments, however, a pronounced accident hump between the ages of 15 and 35 contributes to over a decade of expected life lost. At age 20, aggregate male mortality is approximately 40% greater than female mortality at the same age. Despite recent reductions in violence, excess male mortality remains high. We discuss the strong social implications of sustained high male mortality for (1) marriage markets, (2) family formation and dissolution, and (3) patterns of parental care.