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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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 is the reason women live much longer than men today, and why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide incomplete solutions. We know that behavioral, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام but we don't know exactly how strong the relative contribution of each of these factors is.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These factors are changing. 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, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

4 months agoEverywhere 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 parity line - this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the gap is just half one year.

The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in rich countries than it is today.
Let's look at how female longevity advantage has changed over time. The following chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Both men as well as 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, the gap is increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small, it has increased substantially over time.

If you select the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to check that these two points are applicable to the other countries having available data: Sweden, France and the UK.