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Women tend to have a lower mortality rate at every age. In the womb, male fetuses have a higher mortality rate (babies are conceived in a ratio estimated to be from 107 to 170 males to 100 females, but the ratio at birth in the United States is only 105 males to 100 females). Among the smallest premature babies (those under 2 pounds or 900 g) females again have a higher survival rate. At the other extreme, about 90% of individuals aged 110 are female. The difference in life expectancy between men and women in the United States dropped from 7.8 years in 1979 to 5.3 years in 2005, with women expected to live to age 80.1 in 2005.
In the past, mortality rates for females in child-bearing age groups were higher than for males at the same age. This is no longer the case, and female human life expectancy is considerably higher than that of men. The reasons for this are not entirely certain. Traditional arguments tend to favor socio-environmental factors: historically, men have gene