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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Yvette Bock (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 how has this advantage increased over time? The evidence is limited and we only have partial solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure how much each factor contributes.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present however not as previously, is to be due to the fact that some significant non-biological elements have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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 افضل كريم للشعر 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

This chart shows that, even though women enjoy an advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of just half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the women's advantage in longevity was previously smaller.
We will now examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed with time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was very small It has significantly increased with time.

3 years agoIt is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.