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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 much longer than men today, and why is this difference growing over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we aren't sure how significant the impact to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain are more complicated. 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage exists in all countries, افضل كريم للشعر global differences are significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

In the richer countries, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Men as well as 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.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once quite small but it has risen significantly over time.

tafsiribnukatsirmuhaqqoq001-110113010227When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you will be able to confirm that the two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.