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Why are women living longer than men?

Hassie Blaze (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 reason why women are more likely to live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase over time? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not strong enough to make an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

Independently of the exact amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, is to relate to the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and العاب زوجية relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

50362981788_8b5c58902e.jpgThe chart above shows that although the female advantage exists across all countries, the global differences are significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in the richer countries than it is now.
Let's examine the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America live longer than they used to a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

If you select the option "Change country by country' in the chart, verify that these two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.