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Why do women live longer than men?

Jett Alvarado (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's the main reason women live longer than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we have only partial solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know what the contribution to each of these variables is.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at least part of the reason why women live so much longer than men today and not in the past, is to have to do with the fact that several fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and تحاميل مهبلية relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Certain 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 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 women. It is clear that all countries are above the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan, the difference is just half a year.

The advantage of women in life expectancy was less in developed countries than it is today.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790 until 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially during the last century.

It is possible to verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.