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Why do women live longer than men?

Jetta Tedesco (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's the reason why women live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, اوضاع الجماع however, we do not know how significant the impact of each one of these factors is.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not because of certain biological or 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. Other 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 - it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is less than half a calendar year.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was very small but it has risen significantly over time.

You can check if these points are also applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.