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Why women live longer than men?

Waldo Wilkes (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 so much longer than men today and how has this advantage increased in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of how much amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, is to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects 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. As we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

3 years agoThis chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, صبغ الشعر بالاسود the difference is only half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries that it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US between 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

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