London: UK scientists who questioned nearly 9,800 people over the age of 50 about their lives and found women were more optimistic than men.
Wealth also helps you live longer with the poorest people more than twice as likely to die at any given age than the richest, researchers at University College London discovered.
Report co-author Dr Elizabeth Breeze said that women could become happier as they get older as they no longer have to worry about looking after their families.
She said: “There is a difference between the way men and women view their quality of life and they are influenced by slightly different things.”
“Women are affected negatively by caring for someone else or if they are not in employment but if they see their children and family more they are positively affected.”
Examples might be actresses Meryl Streep, 59, Helen Mirren, 62, and Judi Dench, 72.
Last year, Mirren said: “A weird thing happens to male actors, especially movie stars, in my experience.
“They become grumpy old men. A young male actor feels that all the girls want him – he’s a star. As actors get older that sense of not being in control of their destiny grates on them and they get grumpy.”
Researchers interviewed people born before 1952 at two year intervals.
They found that the poorest fifth of the population were over twice as likely to have died by 2008 as those in the wealthiest fifth.
In some age groups, the difference was even greater with the poorest women between 60 and 74 six times more likely to have died than the richest women of the same age.
According to the study, you have more chance of living longer if you are married, educated to degree level and a professional.
Single people are twice as likely to die early as those who are married or living with a partner.
The study found that exercise increases life expectancy with the physically inactive twice as likely to die before those keeping fit.