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Why do women live longer than men?

Shawnee Kiley (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 in the present and why is this difference growing over time? There isn't much evidence and we only have some solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men, but not in the past, is to do with the fact that certain key non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? 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. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries than it is today.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in America live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, اضيق وضعية للجماع you can confirm that the two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.