Long-living men are finally closing the mortality gap with women, a new report has revealed. The era when elderly widows survived their husbands by decades might be over and by the end of this century men may even catch up completely.
The boom is due to better medication for typically male diseases, according to the Mintel British Lifestyles 2002 survey. Over the next five years, it foresees a 600,000 growth in the number of men in Britain, almost double the 350,000 increase in women.
While the amount of children under the age of 14 will make a sharp decline of 4.7 per cent with women waiting until their thirties to have families, the increase in over-60s is predicted to almost treble the 1.7 per cent boom of the past five years.
Men are already outpacing women, with the number in this age group up by 4.4 per cent since 1996 while women have remained static. But the phenomenon is expected to be even more apparent between now and 2006 with the quantity of elderly men booming by almost 8 per cent compared with an increase of only 2.8 per cent for females.
Peter Ayton, Mintel's chief statistician, said: "It is largely due to medical practice and the advances in the cardiac area, which has traditionally killed off more men than women. Women are still living longer and longer though men are catching up with them. It may well be that in 50 or 100 years' time there is no difference between the two, though naturally women tend to live longer."
The survey also demonstrated that consumer confidence had steadily grown since the recession of the early 1990s with expenditure increasing by 74 per cent in current terms since 1991. The negative effects of the September 11 terrorist attacks were brief.
Property continued to benefit from consumer confidence. House prices rose on average by 68 per cent in 10 years.