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Why women live longer than men?

Cathryn Richter (2022-04-18)


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? What is the reason does this benefit increase in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women living longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men and not previously, has to be due to the fact that a number of fundamental non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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. It is clear that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women was smaller
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots male and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور female life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they used to 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 to be very modest however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

You can confirm that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.