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Why are women living longer than men?

Ferne Sisk (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 is this difference growing over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We know there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables which all play a part in women who live longer than males, اضيق وضعية للجماع it isn't clear how much each one contributes.

In spite of the precise number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason why women live so much longer than men in the present however not as in the past, has to relate to the fact that several key non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others 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 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 every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl from every country could expect to live longer than her older brother.

1958-4.jpgIt is interesting to note that while the female advantage is present everywhere, cross-country differences are large. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is less than half a calendar year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men and women in the US live a lot, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you can check that these two points apply to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.