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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. What makes women live longer than men and why does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is limited and we only have limited solutions. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present but not in the past, is to have to do with the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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 افضل كريم للشعر men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries are often significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares the male and female lifespans at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct points stand out.

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

3902-4.jpgSecond, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in life expectancy was once quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

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