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Why are women living longer than men?

Bryant Dawbin (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. Why do women live so longer than men and why is this difference growing in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

In spite of how much weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as in the past, has to be due to the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? 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. It is clear that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from every country could be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

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

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

First, there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, موقع تزويد مشتركين there's an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you can check that these two points also apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.