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Why are women living longer than men?

Nicole Grose (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 main reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And why has this advantage gotten larger over time? The evidence is limited and we only have incomplete solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we aren't sure how significant the impact of each one of these factors is.

We are aware that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain biological or افضل شامبو وبلسم non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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 parity line - which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was much lower in the richer countries than it is today.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. 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.

The gap is getting wider: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once extremely small It has significantly increased over time.

It is possible to verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.