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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. Why do women live so longer than men, and why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence isn't conclusive and we only have partial answers. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which all play a part in women's longevity more than males, it isn't clear what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. For example, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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 every country is over the line of parity diagonally. This means that a newborn girl from any country can expect to live longer than her brothers.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia women live 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the difference is less than half a calendar year.

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The advantage for women in terms of life expectancy was lower in rich countries that it is today.
We will now examine how the female advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies when they were born in the US between 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

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

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used 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 in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.