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Why do women live longer than men?

Annie Cardone (2022-04-15)


Everywhere in the world women live longer than men - but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn't live longer than men in the 19th century. Why do women live longer than men in the present and how does this benefit increase over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an informed conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental variables which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men do today but not previously, has to do with the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage exists everywhere, زيادة متابعين تويتر the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in the richer countries than it is today.
We will now examine how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%81-%D8%AA%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8And second, there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, you are able to determine if these two points also apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.