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Why women live longer than men?

Lora Helm (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 more than men do today and why have these advantages gotten bigger in the past? There isn't much evidence and we're left with only incomplete solutions. We know that behavioral, صبغ الشعر بالاسود biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; However, we're not sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

1 year agoWe know that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Other 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 women. We can see that every country is above the diagonal line of parity. This means that a newborn girl in every country can be expected to live for longer than her younger brother.

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be significant. In Russia women have a longer life span than males; while in Bhutan the difference is less than half each year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was much lower in countries with higher incomes than it is today.
Let's now look at how the advantage of women in longevity has changed over time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

There is an upward trend. Men and women in the US live much, 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 increasing: While the female advantage in life expectancy used to be tiny It has significantly increased over time.

You can verify that these are applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and صبغ الشعر بالاسود Sweden.