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Why do women live longer than men?

Brandie Lumpkins (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 is the reason women live much longer than men today and how has this advantage increased in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence is not sufficient to draw an unambiguous conclusion. We know there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that play an integral role in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

We are aware that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other are more complicated. For اضيق وضعية للجماع 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. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line - it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, while there is a female advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half an hour.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in developed countries that it is today.
We will now examine the way that female advantages in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest but it increased substantially in the past century.

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