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Why are women living longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (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 is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? Why is this difference growing as time passes? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an informed conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear how much each factor contributes.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men today however not as in the past, is to be due to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? 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, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, افضل كريم للشعر ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

1758142.jpgEverywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This graph shows that even though women enjoy an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

In wealthy countries, the longevity advantage for women was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they were 100 years 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 life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially with time.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.