Researchers find men most likely to outlive women

 Representational image of a man and a woman sitting together with their dog and holding mugs in their hands. — Pixabay/ 5688709 

A new study reveals that contrary to popular belief, men are more likely to outlive women, especially if they are educated and married.

The data analysis proved that since 1850, 25 per cent and 50 per cent of men have outlived women on all continents.

“Sometimes large differences in life expectancy mask substantial overlap in lifespan,” the researchers write in a media release.

To conduct the study, the team examined a study of sex differences in 199 global populations over two centuries. The statistic measured the odds of someone from a population with a high death rate living longer than someone from a population with a lower one.

Additionally, the team analysed data from the World Population Prospects 2019, which gives scientists sex-specific life tables from 199 countries at five-year intervals, starting from 1950-54 and ending in 2015-19.

Then, researchers compared the odds of men outliving women after separating them based on their education level and marital status.

Researchers found that the rate of men outliving women had been falling until the 1970s in developed nations. Interestingly enough, the probability is now increasing across all populations. The changes in life expectancy were mainly linked with differences in smoking and other behaviours.

The odds of men outliving women are also higher in low and middle-income countries. However, researchers say this has more to do with a higher death rate among young and infant girls in those countries.

Image showing the silhouette of a happy woman. —  Pixabay/ Jill Wellington
Image showing the silhouette of a happy woman. —  Pixabay/ Jill Wellington

Further, researchers revealed that married men were 39% more likely to outlive women, compared to just 37% for those staying single.

Additionally, men with a university degree saw their odds of a long life rise to 43%, compared to just 39% for men only having a high school diploma.

“A blind interpretation of life expectancy differences can sometimes lead to a distorted perception of the actual inequalities [in lifespan],” the study authors write.

“Not all males have a disadvantage of 10 years, which is overlooked by solely making comparisons of life expectancy. However, a small number of males will live very short lives resulting in that difference. For example, more baby boys die than baby girls in most countries.”

The study is published in BMJ Open.

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