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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's the reason women have a longer life span than men? What is the reason does this benefit increase as time passes? There isn't much evidence and we have only partial answers. Although we know that there are biological, psychological as well as environmental factors that play an integral role in women who live longer than men, we don't know what percentage each factor plays in.

In spite of how much number of pounds, we know that at a minimum, the reason women live longer than men however not as in the past, is to have to do with the fact that a number of important 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. There are others that are more intricate. 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 line of parity diagonally. This implies that a baby girl in every country can anticipate to live longer than her brother.

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

The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in developed countries than it is today.
Let's now look at the way that female advantages in longevity has changed with time. The next chart plots male and female life expectancies when they were born in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two distinct features stand out.

There is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US live a lot, صبغ الشعر بالاسود [] much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest however, it has increased significantly in the past century.

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