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New Research: Even in the Harshest Conditions, Women Outlive Men

Is it nature or nurture? Brigid Schulte interviews the author of new research on the Better Life Blog on Slate to find out.

Women live longer than men. In nearly all populations on Earth, women tend to live, on average, one to three years longer. Is it the way women and men live—their behaviors, what they eat, the risks they take, the social factors that influence them? Or is it hard-wired into their biology?

While nature vs. nurture debates about gender differences rage on, a study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science sheds new light on why women tend to live longer. Biology, the researchers say, appears to be the primary reason. “Female [life expectancy] advantage stems from fundamental biological roots,” the study concludes, “and is influenced by socially and environmentally determined risks, opportunities, and resources.”