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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Cathryn Richter (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? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than men, we don't know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, 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 اوضاع الجماع women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live for longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that although the female advantage exists in all countries, global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

In countries with high incomes, اوضاع الجماع ( the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small It has significantly increased in the past.

2 years agoBy selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, check that these two points also apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.