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Why do women live longer than men?

Agustin Vieira (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 more than men do today and why has this advantage increased over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However this isn't because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. For example, العاب زوجية 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, العاب زوجية;, 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 line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

In rich countries the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women 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.

The gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was tiny, it has increased substantially in the past.

تحاميل-جاينو-ميكوزال-4You can verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.