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Why women live longer than men?

Muhammad Glauert (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 in the present, and why is this difference growing over time? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support a definitive conclusion. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we do not know how significant the impact of each of these factors is.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological factors have changed. These variables are evolving. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are others that are more intricate. 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 العاب زوجية 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. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line , العاب زوجية which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart illustrates that, although there is a women's advantage throughout the world, the differences between countries can be substantial. In Russia, women live 10 years more than males. In Bhutan the gap is less than half a calendar year.

The female advantage in terms of life expectancy was lower in developed countries than it is now.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two specific points stand out.

There is an upward trend. Both genders in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very small however it increased dramatically in the past century.

Youtube.jpgBy selecting 'Change Country from the chart, check that these two points are applicable to other countries that have available data: Sweden, France and the UK.