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Why do women live longer than men?

Anthony Lovejoy (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 are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason the advantage has grown in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, However, we're not sure how much the influence of each factor is.

1 year agoWe have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain biological or non-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 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can anticipate to live longer than her younger brother.

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women live for افضل كريم للشعر 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries that it is today.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in terms of 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.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women living in America are living longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.