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Why do women live longer than men?

Isis Parkin (2022-04-18)

2 years agoEverywhere 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 women are more likely to live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have limited solutions. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we aren't sure what the contribution to each of these variables is.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that at least part of the reason women live longer than men and not in the past, has to relate to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? 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 علامات الحمل بولد women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal parity line - this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

The advantage women had in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart shows male and علامات الحمل بولد female life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly over the last century.

If you select the option "Change country' on the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.