DURHAM , N.C. — Women today tend to live longer than men almost everywhere worldwide — in some countries by more than a decade.
Now, three centuries of historical records show that women don’t just outlive men in normal times: They’re more likely to survive even in the worst of circumstances, such as famines and epidemics, researchers report.
Most of the life expectancy gender gap was due to a female survival advantage in infancy rather than adulthood, the researchers found. In times of adversity, newborn girls are more likely to survive.
The fact that women have an edge in infancy, when behavioral differences between the sexes are minimal, supports the idea that the explanation is at least partly biological, the researchers say.
More at Duke University