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Why are women living 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 main reason women live longer than men? And why is this difference growing as time passes? We have only a small amount of evidence and the evidence is not sufficient to reach an unambiguous conclusion. Although we know that there are behavioral, biological and environmental variables that play an integral role in women's longevity more than men, we do not know what percentage each factor plays in.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But, this is not 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. Some 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. It is clear that all countries are over the diagonal line of parity. This implies that a baby girl in every country can expect to live longer than her younger brother.

The chart below shows that even though women enjoy an advantage in all countries, كيفية إقامة علاقة بالصور the differences across countries are often significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan there is a difference of less than half a calendar year.

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In countries with high incomes, the female advantage in longevity was smaller
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart plots the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two things stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living 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 advantage of women in life expectancy used to be extremely small It has significantly increased in the past.

You can verify that the points you've listed are applicable to other countries that have data by selecting the "Change country" option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.121-3.jpg