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Why do women live longer than men?

Finlay Thrasher (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. Why do women live so much longer than men today, and why have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, افضل كريم للشعر However, we're not sure what the contribution of each one of these factors is.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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.

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 above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from any country can expect to live longer than her brother.

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less that half a year.

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

There is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it increased substantially during the last century.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries with information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.