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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 makes women live longer than men and why does this benefit increase in the past? The evidence is limited and we're only able to provide limited answers. We know there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we don't know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

In spite of the precise amount of weight, we are aware that at a minimum, the reason why women live longer than men however not as in the past, has to be due to the fact that several important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور 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 all countries are above the diagonal parity line , which means that in every country that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan, the difference is only half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in the United States live longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in life expectancy used be extremely small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

You can verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by selecting the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.