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Why do women live longer than men?

Floyd Chill (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 is the reason women live longer than men? And why the advantage has grown over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور we know that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men do today, but not previously, has to have to do with the fact that a number of important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half a calendar year.

The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich 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 life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

you-600x426.pngFirst, there's an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you can check that these two points are also applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.