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Why do women live longer than men?

Lucie Kruttschnitt (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's the reason why women are more likely to live longer than men? And why the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is limited and we're left with only partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and العاب زوجية environmental variables which play a significant role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not because of certain biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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, 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 line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, العاب زوجية country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries that it is today.
We will now examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

You can verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.