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Why do women live longer than men?

Vilma Santora (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 makes women live longer than men in the present and how does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we're only able to provide limited answers. Although we know that there are biological, psychological and environmental factors which all play a part in women's longevity more than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that at least a portion of the reason women live longer than men however not as in the past, is to do with the fact that certain fundamental non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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.

تاتو الحلمات والسرة بالنكهاتEverywhere 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 that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

Interestingly, this chart shows that while the female advantage exists in all countries, اضيق وضعية للجماع cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes than it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men 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.

Second, there's an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very small, but it grew substantially in the past century.

You can verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, اضيق وضعية للجماع and Sweden.