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Why women are more likely to live longer than men?

Wilford Tufnell (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 more than men do today and how is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is limited and we only have some answers. We know there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. For صبغ الشعر بالاسود ( 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US live 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 growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was tiny It has significantly increased over time.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, confirm that the two points are applicable to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.