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Why do women live longer 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. What's the reason women have a longer life span than men? And how has this advantage gotten larger over time? There isn't much evidence and we're left with only incomplete answers. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how much the influence of each one of these factors is.

We know that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But, this is not due to the fact that certain biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. 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, 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 all countries are over the line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in all countries can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

Interestingly, this chart shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in terms of longevity has changed over time. The next chart shows male and female life expectancies at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is an increasing gap: اوضاع الجماع The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small however it increased dramatically over the last century.

By selecting 'Change Country in the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.