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Why women live longer than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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 is this difference growing in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at least part of the reason why women live longer than men today but not previously, is to relate to the fact that some fundamental non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 men and women. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

The chart above shows that the advantage of women exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام While the female advantage in life expectancy was quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are also applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.