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Why do women have longer lives 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's the main reason women have a longer life span than men? Why has this advantage gotten larger as time passes? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, but we don't know exactly how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason women live so much longer than men do today and افضل كريم للشعر not in the past, is to relate to the fact that a number of significant non-biological elements have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. 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. It is clear that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from any country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was smaller in developed countries than it is today.
Let's look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the time of birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand افضل كريم للشعر out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increasing gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially over the last century.

You can verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.