The average life expectancy in women has been found to be more than that in men in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it comes to around 81 years for women, while the average for men stands at 76 years. Basically, women tend to outlive men. According to Virginia Zarulli, an associate professor of demography at the University of Southern Denmark, the reason behind this can be found in two main causes.
On average, women around the world live longer for biological reasons. Speaking about which, particularly in cisgender people, the first cause is attributed to differences in sex hormones. Those people, whose gender identity corresponds to the biological sex they were assigned at birth, are described as cisgender people. Cisgender women produce less testosterone and more estrogen than cisgender men do.
According to a 2017 study in the journal Biology of Sex Differences, estrogen helps in protecting people from many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. A 2020 study in the journal Nature Medicine established that high levels of testosterone can cause increased risk in some diseases. It implies prostate cancer in men while endometrial and breast cancer in women. As per Virginia Zarulli, testosterone has also been found to have links to risky behaviour as well as increased levels of aggression. This also means there is an increased risk of death at a younger age.
Zarulli also said women live four to five more years than men, on average. There is another factor which reckons the rest of their survival advantage. Social factors, said Zarulli, have an important role to play. Women tend to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol less often than men. According to a 2020 review study in the journal Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine, men are less likely to trust in healthy nutrition, and instead prefer fatty meals and eat fast food.
It should be noted that the life expectancy gap was never as wide as it has become now. An earlier report from the National Bureau of Economic Research details records that show women did not consistently live longer than men until about the beginning of the 20th century. Infectious diseases ran widespread and hit both genders fairly equally before then.
Since then, life expectancy in women has not continued to rise as much as it could. A 2011 report showed that the gap between potential and observed life expectancy in women started to increase due to cigarette smoking. It is observed that by 2005, on average, women were living 2.3 years less than expected because they started smoking.