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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Bernardo Sheehy (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 more than men do today and how does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is sketchy and we have only partial solutions. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women who live longer than men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't 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. Others 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 زيوت تطويل الشعر ( survivors, زيوت تطويل الشعر 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 we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; this means in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

This graph shows that although women have an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be substantial. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in rich countries that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has grown significantly over time.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, you can determine if these two points are applicable to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.