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Why do women live longer than men?

Evan Biddle (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 why is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we have only partial solutions. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental factors that all play a role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However this is not because of certain biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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 every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend: Men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

dsafdgfdfsd.jpgSecond, the gap is growing: كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once extremely small, it has increased substantially over time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, confirm that the two points apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.