BOSTON – When it comes to life expectancy, the gender gap is widening even further.
A new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco finds that the average American was projected to live about three fewer years in 2021 than in 2019, and the life expectancy gap between women and men grew.
Women are now estimated to live nearly six years longer than men, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Men spent more time in risky environments such as work, jails, and homeless shelters. They were less likely to seek medical care and were more likely to suffer complications. But so-called “deaths of despair” also are playing a role, namely alcoholism, overdoses, and suicide, which affect more men than women, suggesting men could benefit from additional mental health and substance abuse outreach.
Now as the burden of COVID-19 eases, researchers want to reassess life expectancy trends post-pandemic.