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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Carmella Suggs (2022-04-16)

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 is the reason women have a longer life span than men? And why is this difference growing as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don't know exactly how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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 every country is above the diagonal parity line - this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And افضل كريم للشعر second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and افضل كريم للشعر Sweden.