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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Latoya McGarry (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. What's the reason women have a longer life span than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're left with only some answers. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure the extent to which each factor plays a role.

DUuaZywX0AYBooy.jpgIn spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men today however not as in the past, has to do with the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. 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 تصميم مواقع انترنت, docs.vcloud.ai, men and women. We can see that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries than it is today.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at the birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, verify that these two points also apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.