Men have shorter life expectancies than women in most nations around the world. The gender gap in mortality is particularly striking in high-income industrialized nations such as the United States, where women were expected to live 5.3 years longer than men in 2003 (80.1 years compared to 74.8 years). However, in recent decades this gap has been steadily shrinking in many nations. This review examines the mortality gap, primarily in the U.S. context, by providing an overview of the gender pattern in mortality, an explanation of its existence, and an assessment of how and why it has changed over time.
Key words: mortality, life expectancy, gender, smoking, cigarettes.