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Why women are more likely to 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 women are more likely to live longer than men? Why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. What are the factors that are changing? 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, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, افضل شامبو وبلسم cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and افضل شامبو وبلسم men living in America are living longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small, it has increased substantially over time.

When you click on the option "Change country by country' in the chart, you are able to determine if these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.