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Why do women live 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. What is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is limited and we have only limited solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than men, العاب زوجية we don't know how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors 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 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 - which means that in every country baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

In the richer countries, the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's examine how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 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 terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

2-141015153425-conversion-gate02-thumbnaIf you select the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.