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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's the main reason women live longer than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only some solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, but we don't know exactly how much the influence of each of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However, this is not due to the fact that 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. 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.

999999.JPGEverywhere 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 from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, افضل شامبو وبلسم this chart shows that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, افضل شامبو وبلسم the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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In rich countries the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living 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 getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be very small It has significantly increased over time.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you are able to determine if these two points apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.