Background and purpose Women live longer and outnumber men. On the other hand, older women develop more chronic diseases and conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and depression, leading to a greater number of years of living with disabilities. The aim of this study was to describe whether or not there are gender differences in the demographic profile, disease distribution and outcome in a population of hospitalized elderly people. Methods Retrospective observational study including all patients recruited for the REPOSI study in the year 2010. Analyses are referred to the whole group and gender categorization was applied. Results A total of 1380 hospitalized elderly subjects, 50.5% women and 49.5% men, were considered. Women were older than men, more often widow and living alone or in nursing homes. Disease distribution showed that malignancy, diabetes, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were more frequent in men, but hypertension, osteoarthritis, anemia and depression were more frequent in women. Severity and comorbidity indexes according to the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS-s and CIRS-c) were higher in men, while cognitive impairment evaluated by the Short Blessed Test (SBT), mood disorders by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and disability in daily life measured by Barthel Index (BI) were worse in women. In-hospital and 3-month mortality rates were higher in men. Conclusions Our study showed a gender dimorphism in the demographic and morbidity profiles of hospitalized elderly people, emphasizing once more the need for a personalized process of healthcare.