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Why do women live longer than men?

Iva Unger (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's the reason women are more likely to live longer than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we have only some solutions. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral as well as environmental factors that all play a role in the longevity of women over men, we do not know the extent to which each factor plays a role.

We know that women live longer than males, regardless of weight. But 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, ابر التخسيس 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 ; this means in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a newborn boy.1

It is interesting to note that while the female advantage exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia, women live 10 years longer than males. In Bhutan the difference is less that half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the women's advantage in longevity used to be smaller
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the male and female life expectancies at the time of birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two areas stand out.

9 months agoThe first is that there is an upward trend. Men and women in America have longer lives than they used to 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, the gap is increasing: While the advantage of women in life expectancy was once quite small however, it has grown significantly over time.

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