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Why are women living 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 have a longer life span than men? Why the advantage has grown as time passes? The evidence is limited and we have only partial answers. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. 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, تحاميل مهبلية 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 parity line - this means in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

3 years agoThis chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage in all countries, the differences across countries could be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men; in Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was less in developed countries than it is today.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and تحاميل مهبلية females at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend: 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.

The gap is growing: Although the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was quite small but it has risen significantly with time.

You can confirm 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.