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Why do women live longer than men?

Jetta Tedesco (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 reason women have a longer life span than men? Why does this benefit increase over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors which play a significant role in women living longer than males, we aren't sure what percentage each factor plays in.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men do today, but not in the past, has to do with the fact that certain fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some 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, اوضاع الجماع so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, اوضاع الجماع 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 over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her older brother.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries could be significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half one year.

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The advantage of women in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is now.
We will now examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790 until 2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer 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 advantage of women in life expectancy was once very small, it has increased substantially with time.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, check that these two points are also applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.