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Why do women live longer than men?

Kimberly Castleberry (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 علامات الحمل بولد [] how the advantage has grown in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, علامات الحمل بولد we do not know how significant the impact of each one of these factors is.

In spite of the precise weight, we know that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present but not in the past, is to be due to the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these changing factors? 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, 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 above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

In rich countries the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially in the past century.

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