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Why do women live longer than men?

Merlin Dunstan (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 is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? Why has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're only able to provide limited answers. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women live longer than men, زيوت تطويل الشعر regardless of weight. However this is not because of certain non-biological factors have changed. These 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. We can see that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is only half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes that it is today.
Let's examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small, but it grew substantially in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, confirm that the two points also apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.