Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of Mortality. According to the American Academy of Actuaries, the average 65 year-old man can expect to live to 84, 87 for women. About 58% of couples age 65 will have at least one partner live to 90 and 28% will have one partner live to 95. And these are merely averages - half of all people will live less than average, half will live longer than average.

Life Expectancy Hits New High - 2005
Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?
Women Set to Outlive Men Worldwide
15 Major Causes of Death
Male Mortality Rate Higher Than Female Rate in Almost All Species
Americans Living Longer, but More Infants Are Dying
Dwindling List of Countries Where Life Expectancy Is Greater for Me

Life expectancy variation over time
Humans by Era
Average Lifespan at Birth (years)

Upper Paleolithic


33 At age 15: 39 (to age 54)



Bronze Age and Iron Age


Classical Greece


Classical Rome


Pre-Columbian North America


Medieval Islamic Caliphate


Medieval Britain


Early Modern Britain


Early 20th Century


Current world average


2010 est.


Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?

Says Maxim, "Although guys are stronger and faster than women, women outlive men in most countries, in some cases by more than 10 years. In the US, life expectancy for men and women at birth is about 72 years and 79 years, respectively. Why? For starters, men work dangerous jobs, fight wars, and go to prison - activities not conducive to long lives - far more often than women. We also experience a greater risk of heart disease after age 40, whereas women aren't really at risk until they reach menopause. (Testosterone not only increases cholesterol levels but also causes recklessness that leads both to violence and to impress-your-friends miter-saw accidents.) Still other researchers attribute the difference to stress. "Socially speaking, they are just better coping mechanisms for girls," says Peg Jordan, president of Health & Lifestyle, Inc., in Oakland, CA.

 Male Mortality Rate Higher Than Female Rate in Almost All Species

Mortality rates are higher among males than females in almost all species, including humans, according to a study completed for the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Illinois.

"The pervasiveness of greater male mortality is [found] virtually around the world, at all ages and before birth, and as far back as the 1300s," Seattle-based actuary Barbara Blatt Kalben told Reuters Health. Kalben, a fellow with the Society of Actuaries, completed an extensive 3-year analysis of the causes of the differences between male and female mortality.

Yet today, she notes, greater male mortality is almost universal throughout the world. Kalben cites United Nations Population Fund 1998 figures that show that life expectancy at birth is higher for females than males in 154 countries, with only Nepal showing the opposite trend.

Kalben's research leads her to conclude that there are biological and genetic as well as social, cultural, environmental, and behavioral reasons for the mortality differences between males and females.

Kalben's review of mortality in non-human species including nematodes, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, spiders, reptiles, fish, and primates showed that in almost all species, females have lower mortality rates.

"I don't see the mortality between the sexes becoming equal in the near future," Kalben told Reuters Health. She believes that besides helping actuaries, "this data may also help women understand and plan for the reality of unequal mortality between the sexes."


American Life Expectancy Lags

Residents of Japan, Europe, Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands all can expect to live longer than the average American, according to a new federal report on life expectancy trends around the world.

The Associated Press reported Aug. 12 that while U.S. life expectancy is rising, the nation ranked just 42nd worldwide in 2004, down from 11th in 1984. The study blamed obesity, lack of health insurance, and other factors for the trend, noting that other countries have improved their health care, nutrition, and lifestyles.

''Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,'' said Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Life expectancy in the U.S. in 2004 was 77.9 years. Besides a relatively high infant mortality rate, racial health disparities, lack of health care, and one of the world's highest obesity rates, the U.S. also needs to address the problems of smoking in order to raise its life expectancy back into the top tier, experts said.

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.

''Something's wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,'' said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

A baby born in the United States in 2004 will live an average of 77.9 years. That life expectancy ranks 42nd, down from 11th two decades earlier, according to international numbers provided by the Census Bureau and domestic numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, had the longest life expectancy, at 83.5 years, according to the Census Bureau. It was followed by Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore.

The shortest life expectancies were clustered in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has been hit hard by an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, as well as famine and civil strife. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1 years, followed by Zambia, Angola, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

But ''it's not as simple as saying we don't have national health insurance,'' said Sam Harper, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. ''It's not that easy.''

Among the other factors:

Forty countries, including Cuba, Taiwan and most of Europe had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. in 2004. The U.S. rate was 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births. It was 13.7 for Black Americans, the same as Saudi Arabia.

''It really reflects the social conditions in which African American women grow up and have children,'' said Dr. Marie C. McCormick, professor of maternal and child health at the Harvard School of Public Health. ''We haven't done anything to eliminate those disparities.''

Another reason for the U.S. drop in the ranking is that the Census Bureau now tracks life expectancy for a lot more countries -- 222 in 2004 -- than it did in the 1980s. However, that does not explain why so many countries entered the rankings with longer life expectancies than the United States.

Murray, from the University of Washington, said improved access to health insurance could increase life expectancy. But, he predicted, the U.S. won't move up in the world rankings as long as the health care debate is limited to insurance.

Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

''Even if we focused only on those four things, we would go along way toward improving health care in the United States,'' Murray said. ''The starting point is the recognition that the U.S. does not have the best health care system. There are still an awful lot of people who think it does.''

Census Bureau:
National Center for Health Statistics:


Americans Living Longer

The life expectancy rate is going up, up, up, and your health is in your hands.

Why Women Live Longer than Men

A recent UCLA study indicates that women may live longer than men because they deal with stress differently. According to the study, the body, when it is stressed, triggers a hormone called oxytocin that causes the "fight or flight" response in men. But in women, high estrogen levels may dull the hormone's effects and produce a "tend or befriend" response, an urge to cultivate social ties. And this less confrontational response may lower blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of disease.

Source: Craig Cox,

Scots Still Die Young

Scots are living longer, but their life expectancy is still lower than in England and Wales. Average life expectancy for men in Scotland is 72.8 years and 78 years for women while in England and Wales men are expected to live to 75.1 years and women to 80, according to Professor Phil Hanlon, the director of the Public Health Institute for Scotland.
Source: The Scotsman

U.S. Living Longer, But More Infants Dying Infant Death Rates Caused by Low Birth Rate, Preterm Births

Americans are living longer than ever before -- mostly because homicides are down. But for the first time since 1958, infant death rates are up.

A new CDC report says that in 2002, the U.S. life expectancy reached a new high of 77.4 years, jumping from 77.2 in 2001 -- for both men and women, and for blacks and whites.

Among infants however death rates increased from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 7.0 per 1,000 in 2002. The increase in death rates is in infants within the first week of life, or within the first 28 days of life.

"Factors such as low birth weight, preterm births, and multiple births all increase the risk of infant death," said Edward Sondik, director of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

But there was some good news:

Deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) declined between 2001 and 2002, continuing a long-term downward trend.

Fewer late-term fetal deaths occurred. These are births defined as 28 or more weeks of gestation.

Death rates for the total U.S. population decreased slightly in 2002:

In 2001, there were 855 deaths per 100,000 people; in 2002, there were 847 deaths per 100,000.

Death rates declined in most racial, ethnic, and gender groups. Only deaths among American Indians (both males and females) and non-Hispanic white females were unchanged from 2001.

Death rates from heart disease and stroke, the nations leading cause of death, declined by 3% each.

Deaths caused by accidents and unintentional injuries were down by 2%, and deaths from cancer dropped by 1%.

Homicide rates declined by 17% -- the biggest decline among all of the leading causes of death. If deaths from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are not included, the decrease was 3%, which still reflects a continuing downward trend in homicides that began in 1991.

The number of HIV/AIDS related deaths has continued to decline, by 2% between 2001 and 2002. Since 1995, HIV deaths have decreased some 70%. However, HIV remains the fifth leading cause of death for people aged 25 to 44.

Death rates increased for some leading causes of death: Alzheimer's deaths were up 6%, influenza and pneumonia deaths were up 3%, high blood pressure deaths were up 3%, and blood poisoning deaths were up 3%.

The new death rate report is based on more than 96% of state death certificates issued in 2002. CDC also collects annual data from birth records, which document recent trends in low birth weight, cesarean and induced deliveries, and preterm and multiple births -- all factors that can impact infant health.
Source: , Jeanie Lerche Davis, CDC.

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Old and young, we are all on our last cruise. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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