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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Sienna Wunderly (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 have a longer life span than men? And how the advantage has grown as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't strong enough to make a definitive conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However it is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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. It is clear that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, this chart shows that, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور while the advantage for women exists everywhere, the cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is only half a year.

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The advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was lower in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's now look at how the female advantage in longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows the male and female lifespans when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy used to be quite small but it has risen significantly in the past.

When you click on the option "Change country from the chart, you will be able to confirm that the two points apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.