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Why women live longer than men?

Bernie Rischbieth (2022-04-19)


A-111.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. Why do women live much longer than men today and how is this difference growing in the past? We only have a few clues and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We recognize that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, but we don't know exactly how much the influence of each one of these factors is.

Independently of the exact number of pounds, we know that a large portion of the reason why women live longer than men in the present and not previously, is to do with the fact that certain important non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, افضل شامبو وبلسم like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. 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. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line , this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a newborn boy.1

The chart below shows that although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than men, while in Bhutan the gap is less than half an hour.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in rich countries as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men and women in the US live a lot, much longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in life expectancy was very small, it has increased substantially with time.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, confirm that the two points apply to other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.