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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Jed Faust (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 and كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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 informed conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental variables that all play a role in the longevity of women over males, we aren't sure how much each one contributes.

In spite of how much amount, we can say that at least part of the reason women live so much longer than men in the present and not in the past, has to relate to the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. What are the factors that are changing? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. 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 over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can anticipate to live longer than her brothers.

This graph shows that while there is a female advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they were a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

bahrainonline-43-141105070747-conversionIt is possible to verify that these points are also applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.