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Why do women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (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 main reason women have a longer life span than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral, ابر التخسيس and environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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 we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you will be able to check that these two points also apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.