A new study reveals the scientific basis for why women live longer than men, the cause of which centers around reproduction. The findings reported in Scientific Journal show a correlation between lower birth rate and longer life span, and examine the implications of how this has changed throughout the course of history.
The study utilized the Utah Population Database to examine individuals born between 1820-1919, using this date range in particular as fertility rates dramatically decreased between 1870-1880 and thereafter. In the early 1800s, men lived (on average) two years longer than women. However, the findings indicated that as the number of children born decreased over the time period (from 8.5 children born per female to 4.2), the lifespan of women increased by 12%. The men examined in the study only saw a 2% increase in life expectancy, marginal results which support the notion that childbearing indeed affects women’s overall health. The reduced “cost” of reproduction over time thus shifted life expectancy to be higher in females than in males.
While it’s commonly purported that women live longer than men, this new study continues to shed light on which specific variables contribute to that conclusion.