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Why do women live longer than men?

Iva Unger (2022-04-19)


12153522005_de62f0cfae.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 makes women live much longer than men today and how have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't sufficient to reach an absolute conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how much the influence to each of these variables is.

Independently of the exact weight, we know that a large portion of the reason women live longer than men in the present however not as in the past, is to be due to the fact that some important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. There are other issues 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, تحاميل مهبلية 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 تحاميل مهبلية women. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the gap is just half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was smaller in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in terms of longevity has changed over time. The following chart shows the male and female lifespans at birth in the US between 1790 and 2014. Two areas stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. as well as women in the US have a much longer life span longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increase in the gap between men and women: female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be extremely small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

It is possible to verify that these principles are also applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option in the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.