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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's the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we aren't sure what the contribution to each of these variables is.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But, this is not because of certain non-biological aspects have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

jynJtYkBAGQ.jpegEverywhere 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 all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl from any country can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

Interestingly, this chart shows that the advantage of women exists across all countries, the difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have a longer life span than men, while in Bhutan the difference is just half each year.

In countries with high incomes, the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancy when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders living in America are living longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is widening: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once extremely small however, it has grown significantly in the past.

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