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Why do women live 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? What is the reason does this benefit increase over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an informed conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how much the influence of each factor is.

In spite of the precise weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men but not previously, is to be due to the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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 every country is above the diagonal parity line - this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

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In the richer countries, the longevity advantage for women used to be smaller
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two things stand out.

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

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.