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Life Expectancy Set To Increase Globally By 2030: But Is The Gender Gap Shrinking?

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Average life expectancy is set to rise globally by 2030, both at birth and at age 65, the two points that prove crucial in determining lifespans due to enhanced maternal and child health along with improved adult wellness.

The new findings from the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), however, found that the United States is likely to have the lowest life expectancy among high-income nations by 2030.

One crucial touchpoint is the projected differences in life expectancy between men and women, and if the perceived gender gap in this area is narrowing today and in the future.

Life Expectancy By 2030: Male-Female Differences

In 2015, the average life expectancy across the world was 71.4 years, according to the WHO. South Korea is seen to lead the pack in life expectancy by 2030, where the average woman is expected to have 90.8 years while the average man will live to 84.1 years.

Among top countries trailing South Korea, Spanish women are projected to live to 88.07 years, Portuguese women to 87.52 years, and Slovenian women to 87.42 years. In contrast, South Korean men are on top in their gender group at 84.07 years, followed by Australian men at 84 years and Swiss men at 83.95 years.

Even among bottom countries, women from Hungary are expected to live up to 81.74 years while men from Mexico are forecasted to last until 76.15 years, highlighting gender differences.

The analysis comprised data on mortality as well as longevity patterns collected from 35 industrialized countries, including both high-income and developing economies. It relied on a statistical method used in weather forecasting to create 21 models and produce the results.

Researchers writing in the journal Lancet cited unhealthier lifestyles among men — involving higher smoking rates and alcohol intake — as the factor behind their shorter life expectancy compared to their female peers.

This gap between the sexes, however, is now considered shrinking as lifestyles become more similar.

Gender Gap In Other Studies

A study published last November pointed to the same tendency of women to live longer than men.

Duke University researchers looked at the data of over 1 million people worldwide from the start of the 18th century to the present, as well as the mortality patterns of monkeys and apes. They discovered that while the last few generations enjoyed the greatest climb in life expectancy, males still trailed behind females in this matter.

“A male disadvantage in lifespan measures has remained substantial — a result that will resonate with enduring public interest in male-female differences in many facets of life," wrote the researchers.

There have been different speculations as to why this gender gap occurs, including genetics. Male primates, for instance, carry a single copy of the X chromosome while female retain two copies, which means males do not have a second X chromosome that can make up for harmful gene variants in their X chromosome.

While higher levels of dangerous behavior come into play, this disadvantage has deep roots in evolution, according to experts.

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