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Why women live longer than men?

Yvette Bock (2022-04-19)


12154254616_4ccc24a25a.jpgEverywhere 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 have these advantages gotten bigger over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors that all play a role in women who live longer than males, it isn't clear the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We are aware that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, زيوت تطويل الشعر like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complicated. 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 every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her older brother.

This chart shows that, although women have an advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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In rich countries the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below shows male and female life expectancy at birth in the US between 1790 until 2014. Two things stand out.

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

And second, there is a widening gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be quite small however, it has increased significantly during the last century.

You can check if these principles are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.