Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?

Essay by drop516 May 2004

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In general men have several physical advantages over women in stamina, height, strength, and speed. But these attributes don't mean much when it comes to longevity. It has been said that throughout history, females have outlived males and that the trend extends across a wide variety of species. The average life expectancy of women exceeds that of men. In the United States, life expectancy at birth is about 79 years for women and about 72 years for men. Women live longer while men die younger. There are many aging theories that try to explain why this happens, but still they are just theories.

Why do women live longer than men do? Maybe it's because women want to make sure they get the absolute last word, or because they don't get shot when they wear a dress in public, or finally because they go to the bathroom in groups to protect each other from whatever they may find in these public restrooms.

There is no definite answer, but there are some statistical theories.

At all ages men have a higher death rate than women do. Even though men start life with some numerical leverage, about 115 males are conceived for every 100 females. These numbers are preferentially carved down thereafter. Just 104 males are born for every 100 females because of the disproportionate rate of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths and miscarriages of male fetuses. More males than females die in infancy. During each subsequent year of life, mortality rates for males exceed those for females, so that by age 25 women are in the majority.

Death rate comparisons for males and females in the United States at a variety of different ages reveal that there are gender differences in mortality patterns. While death rates are higher for males than females at...