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Why women live longer than men?

Marcia Fuhrmann (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. Why do women live so much longer than men today and how has this advantage increased in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're only able to provide incomplete answers. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , زيوت تطويل الشعر this means that in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy when they were born in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they did a century 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 terms of life expectancy used to be very small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you can determine if these two points also apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.