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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 live longer than men and why does this benefit increase in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

We are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors 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 تحاميل مهبلية women. It is clear that every country is above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists in all countries, تحاميل مهبلية difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half one year.

In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity was not as great.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed with time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America live 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 a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be quite small but it increased substantially over the course of the last century.

You can confirm that these points are also applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.