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Why are women living longer than men?

Vanessa Tubb (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 have a longer life span than men? Why does this benefit increase in the past? There isn't much evidence and we only have some solutions. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors contribute to the fact that women live longer than men; however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

We have learned that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn't due to the fact that certain non-biological aspects have changed. What are these factors that have changed? 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 كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام 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 you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means that in all countries baby girls can expect to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, while there is a female advantage everywhere, cross-country differences can be substantial. In Russia women are 10 years older than men; in Bhutan the gap is less than half each year.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes than it is now.
Let's see how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The next chart shows the life expectancy of males and females at birth in the US over the period 1790-2014. Two areas stand out.

There is an upward trend. Women and men in America have longer lives than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The gap is getting wider: Although the advantage of women in terms of life expectancy was tiny, it has increased substantially over time.

Using the option 'Change country' on the chart, you are able to check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.