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Why are women living longer than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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? And why does this benefit increase in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables which all play a part in women living longer than men, we don't know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

It is known that women live longer than men, صبغ الشعر بالاسود regardless of their weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These factors are changing. 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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, this chart shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
Let's examine how the gender advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and صبغ الشعر بالاسود women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be quite small however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you can check that these two points apply to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.