Causes and Trends of the Gender Difference in Life Expectancy in Germany
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2015.0494-0498german translation / full article
Summary: This article discusses the status quo of research on gender differences in mortality in Germany from a social science perspective. In Germany men currently live on average about five years less than women. In the early 1990s, the difference in life expectancy at birth between women and men was 6.6 years. Since then, a steady decline in this gender gap has been observed. This trend is likely to continue in the near future. The excess mortality of men is caused by biological as well as social, behavioural and environmental factors. Currently, the majority of the mortality difference between women and men in Germany can be attributed to non-biological factors and therefore is associated with directly or indirectly modifiable factors. Among these, tobacco consumption has been identified as a particularly relevant determinant of sex differences in mortality. Although research has established some of the factors underlying male excess mortality, the phenomenon of why men live shorter than women has not yet been fully explained.