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Why do women live longer than men?

Merlin Dunstan (2022-04-19)


ar-anti-infectans-111124075816-phpapp02-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 makes women live longer than men in the present and how does this benefit increase over time? The evidence isn't conclusive and we're left with only incomplete solutions. We know that biological, behavioral and environmental factors play a role in the fact that women have longer lives than men, however, we do not know how strong the relative contribution to each of these variables is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of weight. But this isn't because of certain non-biological aspects 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 العاب زوجية 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 , العاب زوجية it means that in all nations that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart shows that, although there is a women's advantage everywhere, cross-country differences are often significant. In Russia women live for 10 years longer than men. In Bhutan, the difference is less that half a year.

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The advantage women had in life expectancy was less in the richer countries than it is now.
Let's examine how the female longevity advantage has changed over time. The next chart compares male and female life expectancy at birth in the US during the time period between 1790 and 2014. Two points stand out.

First, there's an upward trend. Both men as well as women in the US are living 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 be very modest however it increased dramatically during the last century.

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