October 21, 2018
A Senior Couple Sitting on a Park Bench Next to Rose Bushes

Life Expectancy Gender Gap Narrows

by Berkeley Wellness  

The gender gap in U.S. life expectancy has narrowed during the past quarter century, according to the CDC. In 1990, life expectancy at birth for American women was 7 years longer than for men, but this gap has shrunk to 4.8 years (81.2 years for women vs. 76.4 years for men), largely because men have had bigger gains than women. Similarly, the gender gap in life expectancy at age 65 has fallen from 3.8 years to 2.5 years (20.5 years for women vs. 18 years for men), as shown in the chart below.

The main explanation is that the gap in smoking rates between the sexes has narrowed over the years. Women have also lost ground because they have experienced a larger increase in cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and diabetes.

Also see How Long Will You Live?