Study on life expectancy: Men live no less than women

Study on life expectancy: Men live no less than women

life expectancy study
men live no less than women

Women have a higher average life expectancy. Still, according to a Danish study, men have a good chance of living longer – if they belong to the right social group.

Women live longer than men: This long-standing claim is supported a Danish study to put in perspective. Accordingly, average life expectancy is a measure that obscures the view of deviations from the mean. In fact, men who are married and have a college degree, for example, are more likely to live longer than women.

Average life expectancy in Germany is 2021 . Was According to the Federal Statistics Office 83.2 years for newborn girls and 78.2 years for newborn boys. Such a distinction between the sexes does not apply only to Germany. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), men die on average four years earlier than women worldwide.

Various explanations have been given as to the reason for this discrepancy: sometimes women’s genetic advantages are considered important, then environmental or behavioral factors – for example, that men lead unhealthy lives or visit the doctor less frequently. go.

Life expectancy comparison overly simplified

The starting point of such analyzes is usually a comparison of life expectancy, that is, the average lifespan. However, it is a very simple solution, write scientists from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense in the journal “BMJ Open.” However, this measure does not take into account the variation in life span between the sexes.

To get a complete picture, the team relies on a different approach — so-called survival statistics. for They examined gender differences in mortality rates in 199 countries. over a period of about 200 years.

“Great opportunity to outdo women”

Conclusion: “Although life expectancy for men is generally lower than that for women, and mortality among men is higher in all age groups, men have a significant chance of outdoing women,” says Marie-Pier Bergeron Boucher’s group writes. She also cites some examples of countries where men were more than 50 percent more likely to live than women: Iceland in the late 20th century, Jordan and Iran in the 1950s, or Bhutan from 1995 to 2010.

In general, however, the probability that men would live longer than women fluctuated between 25 and 50 percent in almost all years and populations examined. In other words, over the past 200 years, one in four men (25 to 50 percent) lived longer than women.

This means that the majority of women are still older than men, the authors write: “But the minority who do not do so is not small.” By far not all men live shorter lives than women, which is overlooked in the pure comparison of life expectancy. The difference in life expectancy is also based on the fact that in many places a small proportion of the male population lives for a very short time. “For example, in most countries, young boys die more than young girls,” the study said.

Survival statistics paint a more complex picture

In fact, survival statistics paint a more complex picture than do comparisons of average life expectancies. Data from the United States suggests that the variations may be due to external factors: There, between 2015 and 2019, men were 40 percent more likely to live longer than women. However, the analysis shows that men with low levels of education and unmarried men had a particularly low chance of surviving a wife. Married men and those with college degrees, on the other hand, lived longer than unmarried women or those who did not have a high school diploma.

The team emphasizes that lifespan length is the result of an individual complex combination of biological, environmental and behavioral factors. “While being male or female affects life expectancy, it is not the only determinant contributing to inequalities.”

A differentiated approach is more important: “These results contradict the general belief that ‘men do not live as long as women’ and reveal more subtle disparities in the life expectancy of women and men.” The broad statement that half the population is deprived of the gender gap in life expectancy is misleading: “The inequalities are more complex.” Therefore efforts to reduce life span discrepancies will need to target a variety of factors, causes and age groups.

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