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MEN’S NUMBERS, THEIR LONGEVITY GREW MORE THAN WOMEN’S IN ‘80S

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Even as women make gains in jobs and pay, their lead is slipping in two areas where they traditionally are ahead of men: how many there are and how long they live.

Women still outlive and outnumber men in America, but improving life expectancy rates for males allowed their total number to increase faster than women during the 1980s for the first time since early in this century, the Census Bureau said Tuesday."Male life expectancy has continued to improve gradually during the decade. Female life expectancy has improved very little since 1982," said Frederick W. Hollmann of the Census Bureau.

Life expectancy for men increased from 70.9 years in 1982 to 71.5 years in 1987, an improvement of six-tenths of a year, he noted. During the same time, life expectancy for women went up only one-tenth of a year, from 78.2 to 78.3.

The reason is that men's death rates for such major killers as cancer and heart disease dropped during the decade, while the cancer rate for women increased and deaths from heart disease only edged down.

"The male population outgrew the female population in every age group under age 85," Hollmann reported.

From 1980 to 1989 the number of men in the nation increased by 10,557,000, while the female population grew by 10,448,000, the bureau reported.

Even so, women continue to outnumber men in America, 127 million to 121 million, the report showed.