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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Jeana Lindeman (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, and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we only have some solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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, اضيق وضعية للجماع 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 above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

N28903939A_1-751x1024.jpgThis chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries that it is today.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, confirm that the two points are applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.