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Why women live longer than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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 why women are more likely to live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only incomplete solutions. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how significant the impact to each of these variables is.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that at least part of the reason women live longer than men today however not as in the past, has to do with 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. There are other issues 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, 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 implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries than it is now.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

hqdefault.jpgSecond, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small It has significantly increased over time.

By selecting 'Change Country by country' in the chart, العاب زوجية you can verify that these two points apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and العاب زوجية the UK.