Men have a high chance of outliving women, especially those who are married and have advanced degrees. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Southern Denmark, published research results in BMJ Open. This refutes the established view that men have a shorter life expectancy than women due to internal biological reasons.
Experts analyzed data on the life expectancy of men and women in 199 populations on all continents over a 200-year period, from 1751 to 2020. To do this, they used sex-specific mortality tables for selected years for 41 countries from the Human Mortality Database, as well as separate data for East and West Germany. They also used data from the mortality tables provided in the World Population Prospects 2019 report. The tables provided sex-disaggregated mortality information for 199 countries across five-year age groups and five-year periods from 1950-1954 to 2015-2019.
Since 1850, the probability that men will outlive women has fluctuated between 25 and 50 percent at all times and in all populations, and only occasionally exceeded 50 percent in different countries at different times. These were Iceland in 1891, Jordan in 1950-1954, Iran in 1950-1964, Iraq in 1960-1969; in Bangladesh, India and the Maldives until 1985, and between 1995 and 2010 in Bhutan.
So the results show that over the past 200 years, one to two out of every four men have outlived women, challenging the conventional wisdom that men simply don’t live as long as women. The increase and decrease in sex differences in life expectancy was mainly due to lifestyle, including smoking.
Certain external factors seem to play a key role. For example, between 2015 and 2019, there was a 40 percent chance that men would outlive women for the entire US population. However, this figure varied by marital status and education level. The chance of men outliving women was 39 percent for those who were married and 37 percent for those who were not; and 43 percent for those with a college degree and 39 percent for those without a high school diploma.
Moreover, married men with higher education have an advantage over unmarried women who have received only secondary education. Couples affect each other’s health, and men benefit more from a stable relationship than women. The lower life expectancy is only due to the high risk of accidents and death from violence between the ages of 20 and 30, as well as to high consumption of cigarettes and alcohol.