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Why do women live longer than men?

Darlene Hatcher (2022-04-19)

5 years agoEverywhere 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 longer than men in the present and why is this difference growing in the past? There isn't much evidence and we have only some solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; but we don't know exactly how much the influence of each factor is.

We are aware that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. However, this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from every country could anticipate to live longer than her older brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that, while the advantage for women is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half each year.

The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in the richer countries as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows men and women's life expectancies at the birth in the US during the period 1790-2014. Two aspects stand out.

There is an upward trend. and women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be quite small but it increased substantially during the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country' on the chart, determine if these two points also apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام the UK.