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Why are women living longer than men?

Lorrine Wisniewski (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 makes women live longer than men in the present and how have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we only have incomplete solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain 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. 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, 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 اضيق وضعية للجماع men and women. We can see that all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in developed countries that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two aspects stand out.

5347-3.jpgThere is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small, but it grew substantially over the last century.

You can check if the points you've listed are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.