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Why do women live longer than men?

Wilford Tufnell (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 in the present and why has this advantage increased over time? There is only limited evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to draw an absolute conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and صبغ الشعر بالاسود environmental factors contribute to the fact that women have longer lives than men, However, we're not sure how strong the relative contribution of each factor is.

Independently of the exact amount, we can say that at least a portion of the reason why women live so much longer than men however not as previously, is to do with the fact that several significant non-biological elements have changed. These are the factors that are changing. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others 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. As we can see, all countries are above the diagonal parity line ; which means that in every country the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences could be significant. In Russia women live 10 years more than men. In Bhutan the difference is just half a year.

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

lipedemiaandperiodontitisarticlejournaloFirst, there is an upward trend: Men as well as women in the US live much, much longer than they did a century ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used to be very modest, but it grew substantially during the last century.

When you click on the option "Change country in the chart, you will be able to determine if these two points apply to the other countries with available information: Sweden, France and the UK.