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Why are women living 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 makes women live more than men do today, and why does this benefit increase in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous 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 much the influence to each of these variables is.

dolEn5ZnGzBR4YzBYwLyegHaJ4.jpgIn spite of the amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to have to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. 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 over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.

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In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two things stand اوضاع الجماع out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women 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 a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however it increased dramatically during the last century.

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