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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's the reason why women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how significant the impact to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and العاب زوجية 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 العاب زوجية;, men and women. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that while the female advantage exists in all countries, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they used to 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 over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.