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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. Why do women live longer than men and how is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we're left with only limited answers. We know there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors which play a significant role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to be due to the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is now.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both men and زيوت تطويل الشعر women in the US are living much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be very small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you can verify that these two points also apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.