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Why women live longer than men?

Teodoro Wiliams (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. Why do women live so much longer than men today, and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only limited solutions. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's look at how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and female lifespans at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and اوضاع الجماع 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

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

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was quite small however, it has grown significantly with time.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, verify that these two points also apply to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.