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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 makes women live longer than men and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? The evidence is sketchy and we only have limited solutions. We know there are biological, psychological and environmental variables which play a significant role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But it is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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 العاب زوجية 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - it means that in all nations the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage across all countries, differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women have a longer life span than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was previously smaller.
Let's examine how the female advantage in longevity has changed with time. The chart below shows gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at the time of birth in the US in the years 1790-2014. Two distinct features stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

And العاب زوجية second, there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be quite small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you are able to check that these two points are applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.