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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 live much longer than men today, and why does this benefit increase over time? There isn't much evidence and we're left with only some answers. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how significant the impact to each of these variables is.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason why women live longer than men today, but not previously, has to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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, زيوت تطويل الشعر 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 in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia, زيوت تطويل الشعر women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries as compared to the present.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

422-141021081550-conversion-gate02-thumbFirst, there's an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny, it has increased substantially in the past.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you are able to check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.