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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 is the reason women have a longer life span than men? Why does this benefit increase as time passes? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't strong enough to make an absolute conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors all play a role in the fact that women have longer life spans than men, However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, 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 ابر التخسيس ( men and women. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; it means that in all nations a newborn girl can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that the advantage of women is present everywhere, ابر التخسيس cross-country differences are large. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

In rich countries the advantage of women in longevity used to be smaller
We will now examine how the advantage of women in life expectancy has changed over time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is growing: Although the female advantage in terms of life expectancy was extremely small however, it has grown significantly over time.

By selecting 'Change Country from the chart, check that these two points are also applicable to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.