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Why do women have longer lives 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. Why do women live so more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? The evidence is sketchy and we only have incomplete answers. Although we know that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

In spite of the precise amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men today, but not previously, has to be due to the fact that certain significant non-biological elements have changed. What are these new factors? 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, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور 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 from every country could anticipate to live longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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In rich countries the female advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men and 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 growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was very small, it has increased substantially with time.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you are able to determine if these two points also apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور the UK.