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Why are women living 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. Why do women live longer than men in the present and why is this difference growing over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as in the past, is to have to do with the fact that several 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. There are others 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan, تحاميل مهبلية the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in the richer countries than it is now.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the birth in the US in the years 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001b-11011501514You can confirm that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.