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Why do women live longer than men?

Mellissa Rodman (2022-04-18)

تاتو الحلمات والسرة بالنكهاتEverywhere 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 have a longer life span than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how much the influence of each factor is.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? 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. We can see that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her brother.

The chart above shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, difference between countries is huge. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is less than half a calendar year.

In wealthy countries, the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The chart below shows men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men and 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.

Second, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام there's a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you can determine if these two points apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.