Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 2 » Gender - Sex Ratios, Life Expectancy And Death Rates, Economic Status And Retirement, Marital Status, Living Arrangements, And Social Support

Gender - Life Expectancy And Death Rates

age social differences women black white five

It is well known that women live longer than men. Exactly how much longer? And does this advantage continue as people age? In 2000, the average life expectancy for women worldwide was sixty-eight years, while for men it was sixty-four years. Nevertheless, the difference between women and men in life expectancy varies throughout the world. In developing countries women live, on average, three years longer than men. The difference is only two years in sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast, women live an average of seven years longer than men in developed countries. The difference in life expectancy tends to decrease at older ages. At age sixty, the difference ranges from one to four years (see Table 1).

In most countries, there are additional differences in life expectancy based on race, class, and other social-status differences. In the United States, for example, overall life expectancy at birth is 79.2 years for females and 73.6 years for males. However, there are important race differences: life expectancy for white women is 79.8 years; for black women, 74.7 years; for white men, 74.3 years; and for black men, 67.3 years. Therefore, it is white women who have the largest advantage in life expectancy, while black men Figure 1 Sex ratios for regions of the world: 1995 SOURCE: 1997 Demographic Yearbook (49th issue). New York: United Nations, 1999 lag 12.5 years behind. However, the difference between white women and black men decreases to five years by age sixty-five, when white women are expected to live 19.1 more years and black men 14.2 more years.

Although both black and white women have longer life expectancies than their male counterparts, the differences decrease at later ages, especially among blacks. While black women are expected to live 7.4 years longer than black men at birth, by age sixty-five the advantage in life expectancy is only 3.2 years. Similarly, white women's advantage decreases from 5.5 years at birth to 3.2 years at age sixty-five. It is also interesting to compare the similarities (and differences) between black women and white men. Although life expectancy is similar for these two groups, there are differences in death rates. Black females have higher death rates than white males at ages under five years old, with the difference being especially great under one year old. Black females also suffer higher death rates from thirty-five to sixty-four years old. However, at age sixty-five and older, the death rate for white males surpasses that for black females. Indeed, at age eighty-five and older, black females have lower death rates than white females and black males have lower death rates than white males.

The importance of the gender difference in life expectancy is obvious: if women live longer than men then there will be more older women than older men. This has several implications for individual women as well as for society. For individual women, it is likely to mean outliving one's spouse, living alone, and poorer economic conditions, as fewer resources are used to cover more years.

These gender differences in life expectancy lead to inquiries about what older men and women are dying from. In the United States, for those forty-five years old and older, the top two causes of death for both women and men are heart disease and cancer, though the death rates from these diseases are higher for men. At the younger ages (forty-five to sixty-four years old), men have higher death rates for nine of the ten leading causes of death, the exception being cerebrovascular diseases (stroke). It is interesting to note that the death rate for causes with large social-behavioral components, such as accidents, Table 1 Life expectancy at age 60: 1995–2000 SOURCE: The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics. New York: United Nations, 2000. liver disease, HIV infection, and suicide, are two to six times greater for men than women in this age group. For those age sixty-five and older, the leading causes of death are similar for women and men, though men have higher death rates from heart disease, cancer, and pulmonary diseases and women have higher rates from cerebrovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease.

In addition, although women generally experience lower death rates than men, they suffer from higher rates of several chronic conditions, including arthritis, high blood pressure, cataracts, chronic sinusitis, hay fever, varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, asthma, hemorrhoids, frequent indigestion, and migraines. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to experience hearing impairments, heart conditions, orthopedic impairments, diabetes, visual impairments, tinnitus, and dermatitis.

Why do these differences exist? Surely, part of the reason lies in biology. Males have higher death rates than females at all ages, even before they are born (miscarriages disproportionately occur with male fetuses). These biological differences are likely to be exacerbated by social factors. Men are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as driving faster, which lead to higher death rates from accidents. Men are also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, increasing Table 2 Economic activity rates for men and women 65 years and older: 1997 SOURCE: The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics. New York: United Nations, 2000. their risk of lung cancer and liver disease, among other diseases. Finally, men tend to neglect their health more than women, as witnessed by fewer visits to the doctor. The smaller differences that exist in developing countries are likely to be due to harsher living conditions for all.

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about 7 years ago

Hello Ignored is the fact that women own the wealth in this world and can afford necessities and luxuries men cannot. For women the stress doesnot exist in comapairson to the sad polite of men. Fact there are several million more women than men, in the U.S.A. yet the homeless population of men is significantly larger than women. Alcholism: more women than me abuse alcohol, what is the significance on lognivity? Both genders are addicted to nicotene Bottom line "Women Own The Wealth In The World" That is the primary element in longivity"

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7 months ago

STUPID MRA ARTICLE.

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about 6 years ago

Je cherche des statistiques concernant
le taux et le nombre de décès selon le sexe et l'âge dans le monde.