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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Bryant Dawbin (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 women are more likely to live longer than men? And how is this difference growing over time? The evidence is sketchy and we have only limited solutions. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that all play a role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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 كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور men and women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries that it is today.
Let's examine how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects 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.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small, but it grew substantially during the last century.

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