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Why do women live longer than men?

Wilford Tufnell (2022-04-19)

2 months agoEverywhere 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 have a longer life span than men? What is the reason has this advantage gotten larger in the past? We only have partial evidence and the evidence isn't sufficient to support an unambiguous conclusion. We are aware that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women have longer life spans than men, however, we do not know what the contribution to each of these variables is.

We know that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. However this is not due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. These are the factors that are changing. 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, علامات الحمل بولد 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 علامات الحمل بولد ( women. As you can see, every country is above the diagonal parity line - this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live for longer than a new boy.1

It is interesting to note that, while the advantage for women exists in all countries, difference between countries is huge. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men, while in Bhutan the gap is just half one year.

The female advantage in life expectancy was much lower in developed countries than it is now.
Let's now look at how the gender advantage in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men and women in the US are living much, much longer than they did 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

There is a widening gap: The female advantage in life expectancy used to be quite small however, it has increased significantly over the course of the last century.

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