Sex differences in mortality

Published on October 1, 2007 Reviewed on November 5, 2015   41 min

Other Talks in the Series: Evolution and Medicine

Hello, I'm Daniel Kruger and I'll be narrating this presentation on how sex differences in mortality patterns can be understood with evolutionary theory and knowledge of relevant social and environmental conditions. This presentation is based on collaborative research projects with Professor Randolph Nussey, who is also at the University of Michigan.
Many people are aware that on average, women outlive men. The discrepancy between male and female mortality rates has been recognized since at least the mid 18th century. However, fewer are aware of the magnitude of this difference. Let's review some basic statistics. Over 300,000 men under the age of 80 would not have died in the United States in 1998 if male mortality rates had been the same as those for women. That's almost 40 percent of all male deaths before the age of 80. But those under age 50, the odds of a man dying were 84 percent higher than those for women. If this isn't enough of a cause for concern, the economic costs of excess male mortality are substantial. We estimate that excess male deaths in one year will eventually cost USD $208 billion in lost workforce productivity alone. This is almost 4 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States.