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Why do women have longer lives than men?

Yvette Bock (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. Why do women live longer than men, and why is this difference growing in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of the amount, we can say that at a minimum, the reason women live so much longer than men do today and not previously, is to relate to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, صبغ الشعر بالاسود 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. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart illustrates that, even though women enjoy an advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia, women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of only half a year.

In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity was smaller
Let's look at how the female advantage in life expectancy has changed over time. The next chart plots the male and صبغ الشعر بالاسود female lifespans at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

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

The gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was very small but it has risen significantly in the past.

lipedemiaandperiodontitisarticlejournaloBy selecting 'Change Country from the chart, you can confirm that the two points are applicable to the other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.