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Why women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (2022-04-18)


3 years agoEverywhere 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 makes women live longer than men and how has this advantage increased over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide partial answers. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that play an integral role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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 line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This graph shows that although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
Let's examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancy at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand علامات الحمل بولد out.

There is an upward trend. Women and علامات الحمل بولد men in the United States live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was quite small however, it has grown significantly in the past.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you can check that these two points are also applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.