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Why are women living longer than men?

Leroy Malley (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 so longer than men in the present and how have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how significant the impact of each factor is.

In spite of the precise weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live so much longer than men, but not previously, is to be due to the fact that a number of significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and العاب زوجية 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. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

It is interesting to note that the advantage of women exists in all countries, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men, while in Bhutan the difference is less than half a year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both genders in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

1 year agoYou can verify that these are applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.