After the 1918 flu epidemic, Women’s life expectancy has risen steadily. In fact, Women’s life expectancy has risen and stayed above men’s, creating an age gap of about 4-5 years. What are the reasons that women tend to live longer then men? Theories suggest that it could be due to the fact that men work at more dangerous jobs, are more likely to fight in wars, and some even suggest it could be because men often avoid seeing a doctor more than women or women have a more advantageous biological makeup.
Luckily for males, the age gap is closing, and their life expectancy is increasing. It is projected that by 2035, men will close the life expectancy gap with females. The reasons for the increase in life expectancy is due to the improvement in safety in the work space and how women are taking on more of the dangerous jobs. For example. there is less of a mortality risk for men when in a career such as mining or being a soldier and women have taken more of the responsibility of these jobs, therefore sharing the risks.
Yet, the close in the life expectancy gap is not completely because of males. Unfortunately for women, mainly American Women, their life expectancy’s have began to decrease. As of now, the drop in life expectancy for American women has affected about 12% of the U.S. women population. Of the 12%, most women lived in rural areas and had low-incomes.
Figure 1 shows the areas where women have been recorded to die earlier than the average American woman. The colors represent change in life expectancy from 1987 – 2007. As Figure 1 represents, the American women life expectancy rate has mainly decreased by 1.1-2.5 years across the country.
So why has American women’s life expectancy decreased? In the 1,000 counties that recorded women who had a low life expectancy, a lot of the early deaths seemed to be related to the increase of diabetes, lung cancer, emphysema, and kidney failure among women. Yet what do these health problems all have in common? They all are long-term consequences of smoking. Women started smoking more casually and consistently much later then men did, therefore women are facing these consequences later. Researchers have also found evidence that the increasing issue of obesity in America also affects the decrease in American women’s life expectancy.
In Figure 2, Urban/males (blue, fragmented line) and urban/females ((red, fragmented line) represents how over time the gap between males and females is decreasing, both with male’s life expectancy increasing and women’s life expectancy decreasing.
Out of all the deaths in America, both male and female, about half are due to life-style choices or environmental causes. Yet a lot of these deaths can be avoided through personal actions such as quitting smoking, drinking alcohol, eating healthy, and exercising more often. Through these adjustments, people will live longer, and instead male’s life expectancy increasing and women’s life expectancy decreasing, both male’s and female’s life expectancies can be increasing..