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Why do women live longer than men?

Leandro Tilton (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 how is this difference growing in the past? There is only limited evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological and environmental variables that all play a role in women who live longer than males, we aren't sure how much each factor contributes.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of weight. However, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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.

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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries are often significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half one year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the men and women's life expectancies at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two distinct points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And second, there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used be very modest however it increased dramatically during the last century.

If you select the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to verify that these two points apply to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.photo_2020-03-07_10-52-08.jpg