It may be uncomfortable to ponder, but elderly ladies and gentlemen worldwide die of very similar causes, notably cardiovascular disease. Girls and boys also succumb to a similar set of illnesses, mostly infectious diseases. Yet the death differences are pronounced for young and middle-aged women and men, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle (large graphic). Women are more likely to die from tuberculosis, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses and nutritional deficiencies. Men perish from substance abuse, injuries, self-harm and violence. As with so many issues related to the sexes, cause of death is determined much more by social factors than by biology (small graphs).

Credit: Jen Christiansen; Source: “GBD Compare,” by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2017. Accessed July 2017