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Why are women living longer than men?

Anja Fountain (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 longer than men in the present and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain 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 we can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below shows gender-based and علامات الحمل بولد female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US from 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small but it increased substantially over the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you are able to determine if these two points also apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.\u062a\u062d\u0627\u0645\u064a\u0644 \u0643\u0627\u0646\u0633\u062a\u064a\u0646 \u0644\u0644\u062a\u0636\u064a\u064a\u0642 ( \u0641\u0648\u0627\u0626\u062f\u0647\u0627 \u0648\u0623\u0636\u0631\u0627\u0631\u0647\u0627 \u0648\u062a\u062c\u0631\u0628\u062a\u0649 \u0645\u0639\u0647\u0627 )