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Why are women living longer than men?

Shawnee Kiley (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 makes women live more than men do today and how is this difference growing in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to reach a definitive conclusion. We know there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors that all play a role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know how much each one contributes.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that a large portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men today and صبغ الشعر بالاسود not in the past, is to relate to the fact that a number of fundamental non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. For صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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 every country is above the diagonal parity line , it means that in all nations baby girls can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage across all countries, differences between countries could 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 female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two specific points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live 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 growing: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small but it has risen significantly over time.

20823058._UY630_SR1200,630_.jpgWhen you click on the option "Change country' on the chart, you will be able to check that these two points apply to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.