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Why women live 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. Why do women live so longer than men, and why has this advantage increased over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we aren't sure how strong the relative contribution of each one of these factors is.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. For اضيق وضعية للجماع 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 over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her brother.

This chart is interesting in that it shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the difference is just half one year.

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In the richer countries, the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
We will now examine how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, you can verify that these two points apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, اضيق وضعية للجماع France and the UK.