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Why 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 is the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? And how does this benefit increase as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not strong enough to make an informed conclusion. While we are aware that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that play an integral role in women living longer than men, we don't know how much each one contributes.

We are aware that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. For كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام 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 parity line ; it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live for longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart above shows that the advantage of women exists everywhere, the country-specific differences are huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.

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

First, there is an upward trend. Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer today than a century 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 terms of life expectancy used be extremely small however it increased dramatically during the last century.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you will be able to confirm that the two points also apply to other countries with available data: Sweden, France and the UK.