I have been fascinated by demographics for years and have written a number of papers and blogs on life expectancy in the U.S. Sadly, overall life expectancy in the U.S. decreased from 78.8 years in 2019 to 76.1 years in 2022. The 2022 statistic is a full 6 years less than life expectancy in comparable countries! New data has just been published indicating that longevity is particularly challenged for men. Of course, women have outlived men for more than a century but the gap in male versus female life expectancy widened from 4.8 years in 2010 to 5.8 years in 2021. The primary factors underlying this trend were Covid fatalities and the surge in drug overdoses.
There are conflicting studies but Covid mortality in men may have been as much as 50% greater than in women due to existing health problems, differences in behavior, and employment in what turned out to be higher-risk jobs. Moreover, men are less likely to seek medical help due to norms regarding masculine behavior resulting in poorer outcomes. With respect to opioid mortality, various studies find that men die at two to three times the rate of women. And, men aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to die from an overdose which significantly impacts the overall male life expectancy statistics.
The major conclusion of researchers is that we need to develop better interventions to deal with male tendencies toward drug misuse, violence, and suicide.