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Why do women live longer than men?

Sabine Biaggini (2022-04-19)


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 live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase as time passes? We only have a few clues and صبغ الشعر بالاسود the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental variables that play an integral role in women living longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women are living 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. Others 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

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The female advantage in life expectancy was smaller in the richer countries that it is today.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in America live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small but it increased substantially in the past century.

Using the option 'Change country in the chart, determine if these two points are applicable to other countries that have available information: Sweden, France and the UK.