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Why do women live longer than men?

Jerry Petterd (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 longer than men, and why has this advantage increased in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have incomplete answers. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

In spite of the precise amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men today and not in the past, has to have to do with the fact that a number of key non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues that are more intricate. 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 line of parity - this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart above shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes than it is today.
Let's examine how the female advantage in longevity 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 points stand out.

First, تحاميل مهبلية there is an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be tiny however, it has grown significantly over time.

You can check if these are applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.