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Why do women live longer than men?

Lilliana Kobayashi (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 live longer than men? And how the advantage has grown as time passes? We only have partial evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to support an absolute conclusion. Although we know that there are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that play an integral role in the longevity of women over males, it isn't clear how much each one contributes.

It is known that women are living longer than males, regardless of weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these new factors? 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 men and زيوت تطويل الشعر women. We can see that every country is over the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in all countries can be expected to live for longer than her brothers.

This chart illustrates that, although women have an advantage in all countries, the differences across countries can be substantial. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan the gap is less that half a year.

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In countries with high incomes, the longevity advantage for women was not as great.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The chart below illustrates the men and women's life expectancies at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Men and women in the US have a much longer life span longer today than a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is widening: While the female advantage in life expectancy was once extremely small It has significantly increased with time.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries that have information by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.